Photograph of lunar crater model

1850-1874 in England
James Hall Nasmyth
One of 15 assorted photographs of Nasmyth's crater models

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One of 15 assorted photographs of Nasmyth's crater models
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

One of 15 assorted photographs of James Nasmyth's crater models illuminated at a low angle showing the region of Lunar Apennines. Originally mounted in Nasmyth's own album. The photo appeared in the book, 'The Moon' by Nasmyth & Carpenter (London, 1874), plate IX entitled 'Normal Lunar Crater'.

Made 1850-1871, this photograph shows a plaster relief model of the Moon's surface centred on the crater Archimedes and the Apennine lunar mountains. Constructed by James Nasmyth, a successful industrialist and engineer, it is based on lunar observations made at his 20-inch reflecting telescope. Working from his Moon drawings, he calculated the height of the lunar features by measuring the length of their shadows. These were then photographed with suitable lighting to produce better results than could be achieved at the time using direct lunar photography. Nasmyth went on to photograph a whole series of his lunar models. They were used to illustrate the book, 'The Moon' that Nasmyth published in 1874 with James Carpenter.


Object Number:
paper, card and complete
frame: 377 mm x 306 mm x 33 mm,
overall (mount): 233 mm x 160 mm x 1.5 mm,
image: 187 mm x 150 mm
photographic print
Mr D.J. Johnson