Puiseux & Loewy, historical photographic moon atlas



Carte Photographique et Systématique de la Lune

The idea for a detailed photographical map of the Moon was launched in 1887 in Paris. Moritz Loewy (1833-1907) and Pierre-Henri Puiseux (1855-1928) supported by Charles le Morvan (1865-1933) started this ambitious project in 1880. Between 1894 and 1909, about 500 observation nights and over a 1000 takes later the map of the Moon was published in Heliogravure. It took 15 years because only under exceptionally good circumstances ("seeing") the moon could be photographed. The takes were made with the special Coudé refractor of the Observatoire de Paris. A refractor with a diameter of 74cm and a focal distance of 15 meters! For this time and age a huge telescope of 6.000 kg.

In the exhibition we have the "Carte Photographique de la Lune" of 1914. This is an addition to the "Atlas Photographique de la Lune" of 1905. The Atlas was completed based upon unpublished images. The photographic Moon atlas of Puiseux, Loewy and le Morvan has become very rare. This is a unique opportunity to view these photographs outside of a museum.

The photographic Moon atlas remained a reference until 1970 when NASA needed a more detailed and more up-to-date Moon atlas to determine possible landing sites for the Apollo flights. Under supervision of the astronomer Kuiper the best moon photos worldwide were assembled. Amongst others, the ones from the Lick observatory were used.

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