March 8, 2004

Jump to: navigation, search

Sunset Over Clavius


Image Credit: Julius Schmidt, Der Mond

Sunset over Clavius

In 1858 Julius Schmidt became the director of the Athens Observatory, and he is best known for the large (2 meter diameter) moon map that he published in 1878. However, one of his finest lunar images appeared in his small book, Der Mond, published 22 years earlier (Leipzig, 1856). The illustration above is a lithograph, printed on cream-colored paper and mounted as the frontispiece for the book. It shows Clavius, at the top, Maginus at left center, and Tycho at the bottom (with central peak). In my opinion, this is one of the most striking lunar views published in the entire nineteenth century. Why no one else chose to adopt Schmidt's stark but vivid style of depicting the lunar landscape is a mystery. Schmidt also had a small speaking part in Jules Verne's Around the Moon (1869), where he was cited as an authority for the opinion that the Earth, if drained of its seas, would look to a lunar observer just like the Moon appears to us, and that therefore the Moon's apparent lack of color could not be an argument for lunar lifelessness.

Technical Details:
The illustration is from the copy of the book in the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology, and is featured in their online exhibition catalog, The Face of the Moon: Galileo to Apollo.

Related Links:
Julius Schmidt at Athens Observatory
Julius Schmidt in Jules Verne's Around the Moon

Yesterday's LPOD: Color Moon Map

Tomorrow's LPOD: Half Moon in Tucson

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



Register, Log in, and join in the comments.