Photograph of Nasmyth's crater models

1850-1871 in England
James Hall Nasmyth
Photograph of a plaster model of the cratered surface of the

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Photograph of a plaster model of the cratered surface of the
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

One of 15 assorted photographs of Nasmyth's crater models illuminated at a low angle illustrating a prominent lunar crater and originally mounted in Nasmyth's own album.

Made 1850-1871, this photograph shows a plaster relief model of the Moon's surface. 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
overall (mount): 245 x 200 x 1.5 mm
black-and-white prints (photographs), models (representaions) and lunar crater models
Mr D.J. Johnson