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In 1874, an astronomer and an inventor together published one of the most influential books of the time on lunar geology, titled The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite. In 276 pages, James Nasmyth and James Carpenter summed up three decades of research encompassing all that astronomers knew about the moon, and even attempted to answer some of the still-unanswered questions of the time, such as: Could the moon support life? Did it have an atmosphere? How did its craters form?

Accompanying the text were a collection of striking photographs of the lunar surface, highly detailed and so up-close that they seem like photographs from the Apollo missions which wouldn’t fly for another century. While it is possible to take such detailed pictures of the moon today without leaving terra firma using powerful telescopes and modern cameras, back then photography was still in its infancy and there was no suitable technology to take photographs directly through a telescope.

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© Amusing Planet, 2018.


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