A long time ago, two countries raced to space, and NASA started sending rovers to Mars, curiosity concerning the skies kept people up at night. For hundreds of years, astronomers (and astrologers) chased information about celestial bodies and their effect on Earth—and turned to cartography to plan their findings for the general public.
Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit priest, and scholar drew a map of the near facet of the Moon again in the 17th century—300 years before American astronauts would land there. Now a brand new exhibit is known as The Mapping of the Moon: 1669-1969, on display through August 21 at The Map House in London, explores the historical past of lunar and astronomical cartography, displaying how these renderings introduced far-off heavenly bodies into our orbit. The display also documents how scientific knowledge developed over time—but also how the artistry of maps was misplaced a bit in the process.
“The publication of those early maps agreed with a transformative moment in human historical past and some of the most vital discoveries in astronomy,” stated Mary Alice Beal and Charles Roberts of The Map House, who curated this cartographic history of the skies.
Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ novel principle—that the solar system was, actually, heliocentric and didn’t revolve around Earth (and man)—was served by these diagrams. And when telescopes had been developed as an optical instrument within the 17th century, Renaissance astronomers have been able to make out stunning particulars—the Moon’s craters, Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons—which allowed for the creation of maps that represented not only planets and natural satellites, just like the Moon, but also the solar system as a whole.