The author quotes the ironic statement of noted astronomer Camille Flammarion
: "The little god Chance sometimes produces extraordinary results" (p.
Well before Lowell established his observatory in 1894, many other astronomers had fallen prey to Martian "canal mania." One only has to peruse the abundant drawings, reports, and discussions in Camille Flammarion
's epic 1892 La planete Mars et ses conditions d'habitabilite (available today in English as Camille Flammarion
's the Planet Mars) and his popular magazine L'Astronomie, covering the oppositions of 1887 to 1894, to fully appreciate just how widespread the notion of canals and Mars's habitability was.
The mystery was interesting, and triggered the enthusiasm of Camille Flammarion
. One method of study involved taking photographs of the planet.
The appearance of Halley's comet in 1910 stirred apocalyptic hysteria among Europeans and Americans, many of whom believed that the comet's tail contained a gas "that would impregnate the atmosphere and possibly snuff out all life on the planet," according to French astronomer Camille Flammarion
, as quoted in the book Apocalypses.
To quote the astronomer Camille Flammarion
, as Nead does in her last pages, 'space has no bounds.
(1) In 2002-03, he edited reprint editions of classic sf texts by Camille Flammarion
The photographs feature mediums active in the first decades of the 20th century, such as the Italian Eusapia Paladino, whose seances were documented thoroughly by leading scientists and intellectuals including Henri Bergson, Camille Flammarion
, and Pierre and Marie Curie.
The volume is edited by the author of one of the few major studies of Flammarion (Camille Flammarion
: entre astronomie et literature (Paris: Imago, 1998)) and reprints the original 1897 edition of Stella, which contains twenty-seven chapters, rather than the twenty-four of the 1911 edition.
Organized by the Astronomical Society of France, the initiative was part of an ambitious programme headed by its founder Camille Flammarion
. A journalist, novelist and self-taught astronomer on the margins of academic institutions, Flammarion belonged to the second generation of scientific vulgarizers.
Jules Verne's opinion of Wells and vice versa are included among the book's appendices (the others are a contemporary review of the novel by Arnold Bennett, two short essays by Wells, an excerpt from Camille Flammarion
's Popular Astronomy, and a 1900 short discussion of gravity by John H.
The section "Le bandeau de la raison" shows how the apostles of Progress were blinded by their faith in the experimental method, and that dissatisfaction with it came from within science (eg Camille Flammarion