Beautiful Celestial Sketches by a 19th-Century Amateur Astronomer

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 - 3:47PM
Science Art
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 - 3:47PM
Beautiful Celestial Sketches by a 19th-Century Amateur Astronomer

In 1881, artist and self-taught astronomer Etienne Leopold Trouvelot published these lovely drawings of celestial phenomena he had observed using his own telescope, the Harvard College Observatory telescope, and the U.S. Naval telescope:

 

Space

 

Space

 

This was essentially an early version of amateur astrophotography, although he didn't have access to cameras back then. A form of astronomical photography came into popularity during his lifetime, but he claimed that "the camera could not replace the human eye." The drawing of the Milky way below, in particular, almost looks like it could be a photograph:

 

Space

 

Space

 

Trouvelot had a wide variety of interests, including silkworms, which gives rise to an extremely random anecdote about the artist. During an amateur scientific experiment involving genetic cross-breeding, he accidentally released a slew of gypsy moth caterpillars into the environment, thereby becoming the first person to artificially introduce one of the most destructive forest pests to the United States.

 

Space

 

Space

Science
Space
Science Art