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The Appearance of the Medicean Moons in 17th Century Charts and Books—How Long Did It Take?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2010

Michael Mendillo*
Affiliation:
Department of Astronomy, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, USA email: mendillo@bu.edu
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Abstract

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Galileo's talents in perspective and chiaroscuro drawing led to his images of the Moon being accepted relatively quickly as the naturalistic portrayal of a truly physical place. In contrast to his resolved views of the Moon, Galileo saw the satellites of Jupiter as only points of light (as with stars). He thus used star symbols in Sidereus Nuncius (1610) for the moons, in constrast to an open disk for Jupiter. In this paper, I describe methods used in subsequent decades to portray objects that could not be seen in any detail but whose very existence challenged the scholastic approach to science. Within fifty years, the existence of the moons was such an accepted component of astronomy that they were depicted in the highly decorative “textbook” Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica by Andreas Cellarius (1660). Other symbolic methods, ranging from the routine to the dramatic, were used in subsequent centuries to portray the moons. Actual photographs using ground-based telescopes were not possible until the 20th century, just years before cameras on spaceflight missions captured the true details of the Medicean Stars.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2010

References

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