To improve the precision of observations, Peiresc continued his work in selenography
. Peiresc commissioned Claude Mellan, an engraver, to complete three plates showing the Moon in the first, full, and last quarter phases.
The history of selenography
before the space age is the story of dedicated amateurs and their efforts to understand our nearest neighbour, at a time when that neighbour was almost completely neglected by professional scientists.
Bill Leatherbarrow: 'The Amateur's Moon: British selenography
and the BAA Lunar Section.'
Westfall, editor of ALPO's quarterly journal, who suggested a way for me to make a contribution to selenography
The designations 'Webb's Furrow' and 'Webb's Elbow' reside in the selenography
of yesterday; 'recovery' of these features seems to have been hampered, at least in part, by scant descriptions in subsequent lunar literature which appear to have omitted precise information in relation to exact locations.
Such were the mistaken inferences and unrestrained speculation that spawned what Pickering called his "new selenography
- the selenography
that consists not in the mapping of cold dead rocks and isolated craters, but in the study of the daily alterations which take place in small, selected regions, where we find real living changes." And it was precisely this new selenography
that fired the literary imagination of H.
These included Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594); cartographer Simon Stevin (1548/ 4922-1620), mathematician, promoter of the decimal system of notation and inventor of the land yacht; Michael van Langren (Langrenus) (1598/1600 (23)-1675), the creator of modern selenography
; Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688), Flemish Jesuit missionary to China in the Qing dynasty and director of the Peking Observatory under Emperor Kangxi; Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874), statistician, anthropologist and founder of the Royal Observatory in Belgium; and Jean-Charles Houzeau de Lehaie (1820-1888), journalist, Director of the Royal Observatory after Quetelet, who played a role in the American Civil War and who observed the transit of Venus in 1882 in Texas.
Until the last half of this century amateur astronomers dominated the field of selenography
. However, with the accumulation of spacecraft images and ones from sophisticated ground-based telescopes, one might assume that amateurs can no longer contribute to the study of our natural satellite.
It is interesting to note at this point the apparent absence from the discussion of one of the most respected selenographers of the 19th century, Johann Friedrich Julius Schmidt (1825-1884), whose Chart der Gebirge des Mondes, Berlin 1878, is generally regarded as the pinnacle of 19th century selenography
. Schmidt was inspired to take up astronomy by Schroter's work and the text which accompanied his charts describes observations of the features depicted on his maps.
With further observations, Galileo, together with other Moon watchers such as Thomas Harriot, began the practice of lunar mapping, or selenography
In terms of the history of classical selenography
Harold Hill's work is of immense importance.
Hill too was not impervious to the changing climate of selenography
. Yet he stood aloof.