The Face of the Moon

21. Nevill, Edmund Neville (1851-1940).

The Moon and the Condition and Configurations of its Surface / by Edmund Neison. -- London: Longmans, Green, 1876.

Neville, who wrote under the name Neison, published the first observer's guide to the moon written in English, and it is still one of the best. It contains a wealth of detail on more than 500 named features, as well as a map in 22 sections, to the scale of 24" to the moon's diameter. The map is not entirely original, being based on that of Beer and Mädler, but it is much easier to use than the original. In addition to the map, there are several enlarged drawings of craters of special interest, such as Gassendi and Maginus, and five chromolithographs to show the effect of changing illumination on the lunar landscape.

image - click to enlarge

Plato at sunrise is reproduced here. Plato was one of many lunar features that was suspected of change in the nineteenth century, and the crater floor had been the subject of a special study by W.R. Birt several years earlier. The problem was that some of the craterlets periodically vanished and reappeared, and the floor itself appeared to get darker as noon approached, rather than lighter, suggesting that some kind of vapors or vegetation gradually covered the crater as the lunar day advanced. The variability of Plato was still being advanced by many lunar observers right up until the 1960's. The observed change, however, is entirely illusory.

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