The Face of the Moon

17. Schmidt, Johann Friedrich Julius (1825-1884).

Der Mond. -- Leipzig: Verlag von Joh. Ambr. Barth, 1856.

Schmidt reportedly became interested in the moon when, at the age of 14, he came across a copy of Schröter's Selenotopographical Fragments (item 14). Schmidt devoted the rest of his life to observing, measuring, and drawing the moon, amassing in the process an incredible amount of selenographic information. He began his career in Germany, spent some time in Moravia, and in 1858 became Director of the Athens Observatory in Greece. His observing was done with a variety of telescopes, most notably a 6-foot long refractor by Plössl. Schmidt is best known for his moon map (see item 22), but this earlier treatise, written just before the move to Athens, is an important contribution in its own right, since it contains the first results of his measurements of the altitudes of the moon's mountains.

image - click to enlarge

The two chromolithographs that decorate the book are among the most vivid of nineteenth-century lunar illustrations. Reproduced is his drawing of sunset over Clavius (top), Maginus (left-center) and Tycho (bottom, with central peak). The region takes on quite a different appearance when depicted as a map (see item 22.)

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