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Moon Space Science

The First Moon Map, and Not By Galileo 82

Posted by kdawson
from the dutch-trunke dept.
sergio80 writes in with a timely piece of history in this the International Year of Astronomy, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope. "Galileo Galilei is often credited with being the first person to look through a telescope and make drawings of the celestial objects he observed. While the Italian indeed was a pioneer in this realm, he was not the first..." That honor belongs to Thomas Harriot, an Englishman, who bought his first "Dutch trunke" (i.e. telescope) shortly after its invention in the Netherlands and made a sketch of the moon as seen through it in July of 1609.
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The First Moon Map, and Not By Galileo

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  • Dupe. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This article was on the Firehose, what... 400 years ago?
  • Who is this Lord Egremont who apparently owns the copyright to the photographs(?) of the drawings? Surely the original drawings aren't under copyright?
    • by mikerubin (449692) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @02:45PM (#26679205)

      No, the LMAA (Lunar Map Association of America) currently has the copyright, and is subpoenaing the descendants of aforementioned Lord Egremont

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They have the full support of the LMAO (Lunar Map Association of Oman) in this endeavor.

    • the original drawings aren't copyrighted. The photograph of them is. (if you took your own photo of them, you would have the copyright to it).
      • Re:Copyright? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Phlegethon_River (1136619) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @03:19PM (#26679447)

        "if you took your own photo of them, you would have the copyright to it"

        Wrong (In the US).

        In the US we don't give copyright for simply making a faithful reproduction of anything. You didn't add any new creative element by taking a photograph of a piece of paper. This is why Google does not hold a copyright on the scans of public domain works. (but they do limit their use based on Contracts/TOS, which is fine, you can sign away your rights in a contract)

        For the court case which spells this out see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeman_Art_Library_v._Corel_Corp [wikipedia.org].

        Now, in the UK, what you said is probably correct. They are, in my opinion, wrongly assigning copyright to people based on "sweat of the brow" work, not creativity.

        • The whole distinction between creativity and "sweat of the brow" is a bit strange to me. How is a photograph of an arrangement of fruit different in creativity from a good still-life? I think people should just get over themselves and admit that "creativity" is just uncommon skill.
          • No, we copyright photos. Parent must be a little confused. The case cited only has to do with photos of public domain images.

            • "The case cited only has to do with photos of public domain images."

              What year were those drawings, um, drawn in? Yes, no matter where in the world you are, those drawings are public domain. And if you were in America then any photo/scan of those images would also be public domain.

              We don't copyright ALL photos. Only those which have some "original" creativity to them (the quote around original because that is what the law says).

              • So a photograph of a bowl of fruit (presumably one you owned and arranged yourself) would not fall under the conditions that Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel talks about. But a photo of an image that was public domain would. Where is it that we disagree?

        • Wrong (In the US).

          Luckily the story isn't about the US, and US copyright law doesn't actually bind the entire rest of the world (yet, although you're trying hard).

          In most of the rest of the world such a photograph would be subject to copyright.

          • And you are arguing that that having a new copyright on those photographs of a public domain image is a Good Thing?

            I wasn't arguing either way, actually. Just stating that in the US those photos would not be copyrighted.

      • You cannot copyright photos of works in the public domain, at least not in the states.

        • by SQLGuru (980662)

          You can if the photo contains artistic content.....for instance if you staged a photo of a bishop holding a Gutenberg Bible. The Bible would be public domain, but you'd hold copyright to the image.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Appropriate. "Dupe" is what Galileo said when he saw the other guy's moon drawing ;-)

  • Meh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @02:46PM (#26679215) Homepage
    Pretty bad drawing. You could probably do a better job if you were a good artist, without any kind of optical device. Galileo gets the credit because his drawings [colorado.edu] actually looked good.
    • Did you bother to RT entire FA? There was a much more detailed drawing further below, done after further study.

      Also, the FA clearly states this guy didn't really publish his works, whereas Galileo did. No wonder which one is remembered...

      • by Feanturi (99866)
        I RTFA, and saw the second pic. It's really not that great of an aesthetically pleasing drawing when compared with Galileo's, however flawed that one may be in feature details.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dotancohen (1015143)

      Pretty bad drawing. You could probably do a better job if you were a good artist, without any kind of optical device. Galileo gets the credit because his drawings [colorado.edu] actually looked good.

      That looks like Galileo drew the first goatse.

    • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @03:13PM (#26679407)
      The difference is that this was a well off amateur drawing the Moon, which was already known to have features. Galileo's main discoveries were sunspots (i.e. sun is not perfect) and 4 Jovian moons (i.e. not everything in the Universe could rotate around the Earth.) These were groundbreaking discoveries because they destroyed the Scholastic world-view as effectively as the Theory of Relativity replaced absolute space and time.

      Therefore this is all a bit of special pleading. This guy basically bought a telescope and drew a few pictures. Galileo made a telescope and changed the way we looked at the world.

      Disclaimer: I'm British, I revere Newton, but Galileo is the one I really look up to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by thermian (1267986)

        These were groundbreaking discoveries because they destroyed the Scholastic world-view as effectively as the Theory of Relativity replaced absolute space and time.

        Contrary to populer beleif, Einstein did not replace Newtons work with his spacetime/relativity work. Rather, he enhanced it.

        If it were replaced, we would no longer use it, and yet Newtons work is applied on a daily basis, both in actual space operations and research. I use his (still very cool) equations in my own research.

        There may be a time when Newtons aproximations are no longer used, but I don't see it happening any time soon.

        There are areas for which we cannot use Newtons equations. Without applicati

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Chris Tucker (302549)

      Tell you what, CastrTroy, I'll give you a telescope that is the equal to what Harriot used (a telescope, by the way, that's inferior to even the cheapest toy telescope sold by Edmund Scientific.) [scientificsonline.com] a pencil and a pad of paper, and lets see YOU do a better job of mapping the Lunar surface.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Don't be a troll. If I were drawing crappy pictures of the moon, I wouldn't expect to get any credit. The fact of the matter is that someone DID do a better job - Galileo. Using your "logic", we would never be able to criticize anyone who happens to be a bit better than us at something. That would take ALL the fun out of sports, entertainment, and politics.

        • And you have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what the optics of the time were like.

          Really, the cheapest piece of crap made in China toy telescope you can find today, is better, optically and field of view wise than the telescopes used by Galileo and Harriot. The cheap pocket telescopes sold by Edmund Scientific are much, much better than those original 'scopes used by Galileo and Harriot.

          Please. Stop using the Internet. You're getting your stupid all over everything.

          • by c6gunner (950153)

            Maybe you missed the part where Galileo did a better job using similar equipment?

            Let me repeat it a third time since you seem a little slow: G-A-L-I-L-E-O D-I-D I-T B-E-T-T-E-R.

            Are we clear now? Did you get it this time, or did you want me to draw you a picture? I can't promise it'll be a Picasso, but I'll do my best. And you better not criticize unless you can do better!

            • And Herriot did it FIRST.

              And as an amateur astronomer who began in the late 1960s, pretty much all sketches made by astronomers look crude, at first.

              Looking at Herriot's sketches, I had no trouble identifying the features.

              Again. Please stop using the Internet. You're getting your stupid all over everything.

              • by c6gunner (950153)

                And Herriot did it FIRST.

                Fat lot of good it did him, eh? There's a lesson there: if it's a question of doing it first or doing it well, go with the latter.

                Again. Please stop using the Internet. You're getting your stupid all over everything.

                Case in point: you'd rather throw the first insult than take the time to come up with a good insult. As a result you vomit up some half-formed piece of drivel which would be perfectly suited for a middle-school environment. If you don't take the time to do it right,

  • by Compholio (770966) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @03:08PM (#26679363)

    Despite his innovative work, Harriot remains relatively unknown. Unlike Galileo, he did not publish his drawings.

    "Thomas Harriot is an unsung hero of science," Chapman said.

    Not a chance, Harriot cannot be a hero of science since he did not publish his work. If you don't actually take the risk of publishing and try to contribute your knowledge to the world then you are not a hero of science.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DavidR1991 (1047748)

      That's a rather harsh thing to say - there are probably a multitude of reasons why he didn't publish his work (maybe he didn't realise the significance of his work - or he may have been at risk of religious/political persecution. It's pretty hard to say, but I bet there is a good reason why his work wasn't published/spread)

      • by Compholio (770966) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @03:34PM (#26679547)
        I don't think so, I didn't say anything about the quality or integrity of the work he did - I just said he's not a hero. If he had published his work and was persecuted for it (as Galileo was) then he could be considered a hero. This difference doesn't diminish the quality or importance of the work, but for him to be able to qualify as a hero of science (taking into account the time period) he would have to have published his work.
        • by SirSlud (67381)

          Unless you're more keen on the details than I am, I would be willing to give the benifit of the doubt that publishing one's work was, and to whatever degree, still remains, an opportunity of circumstance. Maybe there was a reason he didn't publishing unrelated to his desire to do so.

          • Unless you're more keen on the details than I am, I would be willing to give the benifit of the doubt that publishing one's work was, and to whatever degree, still remains, an opportunity of circumstance. Maybe there was a reason he didn't publishing unrelated to his desire to do so.

            Lots of things are opportunities of circumstance, and that is often how heroes are made. You don't hear about the fireman who arrived two minutes too late to leap into the flames and pull the baby out unharmed, you hear about his buddy in Company C whose station was closer and got there first. Both men had the same capabilities and the same desire, but one had the opportunity of circumstance while the other was a victim of it. The act itself is what matters, and I fully agree with Compholio that while th

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bornwaysouth (1138751)

        Harriot was a well funded professional. However, his funds came from patrons who were politically tainted (if trying to kill your king deserves such an unharsh word.) So I agree that he may have had good reason to keep a low profile for a short while, and by then moon-maps were two a penny. Possibly an accurate term as a penny was worth something back then.

        But is someone who published little and apparently avoided risk deserving of the term 'hero'

        I really have no idea why he was so well funded over so many

        • by VJ42 (860241) *

          And to cap it off, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] makes no reference to Thomas Harriot at all. Truly one of the grey suits of British science.

          Then What's this [wikipedia.org]? Apparently he did a whole bunch of other cool things as well.

          • Yep, I bungled how I phrased that. I had read that article, and it does cover Harriot quite well. What I meant to say (since the discussion is on Harriot, moon-maps and anonymity) is that the Wikipedia article on the Harriot crater ironically makes no mention of Harriot at all.

            Harriot seems to have been an 'eminence grise', a background figure. There is a college named after him, but it is in East Carolina. England does not regard him so well. He is not 'Sir Thomas' whereas Newton is Sir Issac Newton and Fa
        • by renoX (11677)

          >if trying to kill your king deserves such an unharsh word

          Given that a (ruling) kind is just a dictator with the support of the religion, I don't see why trying to kill a king would necessarily deserve any harsh word..

        • by againjj (1132651)

          And to cap it off, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] makes no reference to Thomas Harriot at all.

          To the right is "Crater characteristics", which has an item "Eponym", listing Thomas Harriot.

      • by mathfeel (937008)
        Yeah, science is pretty harsh.
    • by Onymous Coward (97719) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @03:24PM (#26679475) Homepage

      Dogma.

      If a person makes private discoveries that are later uncovered, it's still valuable.

      If heroism requires personal risk, there are plenty other ways an investigator could endanger themselves in the pursuit of knowledge.

      All that said, Harriot is still probably not a hero.

      • by renoX (11677)

        Valuable?

        If you do a discovery but do not make it public and then it's rediscovered by other (a very common occurence), what's the value of the original discovery?

        Except for bragging rights, not much..

    • by bobdotorg (598873) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @04:19PM (#26679839)

      Despite his innovative work, Harriot remains relatively unknown. Unlike Galileo, he did not publish his drawings.

      "Thomas Harriot is an unsung hero of science," Chapman said.

      Not a chance, Harriot cannot be a hero of science since he did not publish his work. If you don't actually take the risk of publishing and try to contribute your knowledge to the world then you are not a hero of science.

      Hmm. So that makes Harriot a Guitar Hero of science?

    • Harriot cannot be a hero of science since he did not publish his work.

      Because of course the rules as they are now have always been there.

      • It's because science cannot advance if you don't tell enough people about your findings. Publishing is not just a way to get an ego boost, it's how future researchers are able to improve on your work.
    • by TimSSG (1068536)

      "Thomas Harriot is an unsung hero of science," Chapman said.

      I do not agree with him being an unsung hero; but, maybe he was one of the first Lunatics? Tim S

  • July 1609 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Psion (2244) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @03:43PM (#26679601)
    July 1609 ... and three hundred and sixty years later, humans walked on its surface.
    • by Yacoby (1295064)

      July 1609 ... and three hundred and sixty years later, humans walked on its surface.

      Everything comes full circle in the end

  • If you look closely at the edges of this map it says: "here be Whalers"
  • by v1 (525388) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @04:51PM (#26680039) Homepage Journal

    Harriot went on to produce more maps from 1610 to 1613, ... By 1613 he had created two maps of the whole moon, with many identifiable features such as lunar craters that crucially are depicted in their correct relative positions.

    Last I checked, the moon is tidally locked [wikipedia.org] with the earth, meaning its orbit about equals its rotation and so we always see the same hemisphere of the moon, even from other places on the earth.

    So if this guy made the first map of the "whole moon" he must have also invented space travel or received a drawing from Mars. I'm sure what they meant to say was "full map of the moon as visible from earth", but lets keep the detail level reasonable.

    The far side of the Moon was not seen in its entirety until 1959, when photographs were transmitted from the Soviet spacecraft Luna 3.

    ya, that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hognoxious (631665)
      When you've finished being a total cock, perhaps you could apply some common sense as to what they meant by "the whole moon" in the context of the knowledge available at the time.
  • by TropicalCoder (898500) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @05:15PM (#26680195) Homepage Journal
    If you compare the lower sketch with an image of today's full moon, it seems it has rotated clockwise about 30 degrees since the sketch was made by Thomas Harriot. Compare the sketch with this moon map [penpal.ru] (scroll down, mouse-over) and locate Mare Crisium on both - a crater on the extreme right at between 2 and 3 o'clock on the map, but between 3 and 4 o'clock on the sketch. A more dramatic difference can be seen if you imagine a humanoid figure created by Mare Serenitatis as the head, Mare Traquillitatis as the thorax, Mare Nectaris as the left leg, and Mare Fecunditatis as the right leg. In the sketch, the impression of an armless figure is stronger. Comparing this figurene in the sketch with same on today's moon shows the "rotation" far more dramatically. When I compared the sketch to some other images of the modern moon I got the impression of a rotation approaching 60 degrees. I don't think we can attribute this apparent descrepancy to the optics, which I can't imagine would be able to rotate an image like that. We could easily imagine an error in sketching which may be accounted by his notebook being somewhat askew at the time he made the sketch. The last possibility is that perhaps the moon has shifted a bit in the past 400 years?
    • The paper rotation idea is interesting, but before assuming the moon itself rotated with respect to the earth, wouldn't it just be easier to assume he sketched it at a different time of night at, at a different latitude, and/or different season then used "towards the ground as I'm looking at it" as down in the sketch? The moon's apparent orientation wrt one's line of sight on earth depends on all those things. Perhaps knowing where he sketched it and at what time of year, one could then figure out what ti
    • by Nazlfrag (1035012)

      I can barely see a difference. If there is a shift, it's around 7-12 degrees, and either way it can be explained best by a slanted notepad, not a slanted moon.

    • Isn't it possible that the observers were just looking at it from different angles? Imagine the moon is directly overhead, and you aim a camera (or telescope) at it. What is the "top" of the moon? You could rotate the camera to any angle to make any part of the moon you wanted to be on the top of the photograph.

      The moon of course isn't directly overhead most of the time, so the angle someone is observing it from could depend on the time of night, where they are on earth, etc.

    • When you look at the moon from New Zealand, it appears to be "upside down" compared with how it looks in the UK. I assume therefore that the moon is "a different way up" depending on where on earth you look at it from, which would make sense. The moon map you link to is presumably as seen from Russia (it's a .ru site), Harriot was I assume in the UK. This might account for the difference you mention?

      However, no doubt some astronomically-aware /.er can enlighten us?
    • Two points:

      1) Astronomical telescopes are designed with the fewest possible optical elements since each surface degrades the image. Such simple telescopes invert the image, http://www.grantvillegazette.com/articles/Seeing_the_Heavens [grantvillegazette.com]. Astronomers these days will often scribble arrows on the glass of their monitors to indicate which way is North and which way is East. Some cameras even flip the images backwards, not just upside-down.

      2) The Moon's orbit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbit_of_the_Moon [wikipedia.org]) is i

  • It's clearly not the first moon map, it's the first space station map.

  • These old guys didn't draw the whole moon. The rear of the moon wasn't observed till the 2nd half of the 20th century.
  • For 400 years, surely the Moon is one of the first things everybody with a telescope has pointed it at. The difference between Galileo and those before and since is the high quality of the inferences he made from the very limited glimpses he had of the sky. Harriot will remain a footnote because the race to draw the first map is secondary to its scientific interpretation.

    At the other end of the human spectrum, many people don't even realize the Moon is visible during the daytime. Their world view simply

  • I love being dutch. ;)

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