Friday, October 29, 2010

The Jesuits On The Moon

Map by Jesuits Giambattista Riccioli and Francesco Grimaldi
When Galileo first turned his telescope to the Moon 400 years ago and saw its mountains and craters, he too wondered whether the dark spots were oceans. In Sidereus Nuncius (The Starry Messenger), published in 1610, he wrote that the Moon's "brighter part would represent the land surface while its darker part...the water surface". Thirty-seven years later, after painstaking observations, Johannes Hevelius published the first lunar map and painted large swathes of the surface blue. Four years later, Jesuit astronomers published a map of the Moon  (Giambattista Riccioli and Francesco Grimaldi) that cemented the nomenclature still in use, calling the depressions maria or seas. 

Link (here) to the full article at the Times of India
Link (here) to more information on the Jesuit map

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