lunar image of the month

november: paintings by galileo

Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642) was one of the great figures in astronomy. He was the first man to use a telescope on the heavens and record his observations. His book Siderius Nuncius (Starry Messenger), published in 1610, vividly tells of his discoveries: that the Milky Way is made up of countless stars, that Jupiter is orbited by moons, and that our own Moon is a world covered by mountains and craters.

These paintings beautifully capture the Moon's relief along the terminator, and the effect of earthshine (particularly in the centre left image).

Image: Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence, Italy.