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State of French scientific knowledge about the moon in 1878
August 20, 2014 2:22 PM   Subscribe

need some pointers as to research strategies/leads to find out about the state of the art knowledge about the moon in 1878, with particular reference to things arising in or popular in the French scientific community. First thoughts are Times digital archive and to look for an encyclopaedia of similar date. Any leads appreciated.
posted by aesop to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
This goes further back and broader (your request is extremely specific), but Birth of a New Physics is an excellent book that gives a good basis for how scientists know what they know about the solar system. It goes into particular detail on Galileo's study of the moon.

Honestly it's worth reading even if you only have a passing interest in the history of astronomy.
posted by phunniemee at 2:35 PM on August 20


Here's a photographic atlas of the moon published by the Paris Observatory in 1896. No actual pictures but a lot of math. I was digging around in Open Library for other stuff, but while there are a lot of lunar eclipse observations published in the 1700's, there's not as much there from the 1800s.
posted by jessamyn at 2:46 PM on August 20


It's worth looking at the writings of Camille Flammarion.
posted by lukemeister at 2:56 PM on August 20


The Astrophysics Data System is a really phenomenal index of all the major astronomy journals, going back as far as they can. If you plug in a date range, say 1877 to 1878, and put "moon" in the title search box, you will get many many results. Many of them will have the full text article available by clicking on the "F".

If you have a more specific idea of what you mean by "state of the art knowledge", it might be possible to give you some more detailed guidance.
posted by kiltedtaco at 4:14 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Hi Kiltedtaco, thanks for the link. NB other potential users, link didn't work in chrome for iOS, but was fine in Safari for iOS.

The research is for a fiction project, rather than For Science, hence a bit vague at this point, sorry.

Thanks everyone for the other links and ideas, will investigate a bit.
posted by aesop at 9:30 PM on August 20


You can make a search for 'lune' on the archived volumes of La Nature 1873-1962 - some examples of result .
posted by unliteral at 10:00 PM on August 20


"German and British selenographers in the nineteenth century, (who) mapped lunar detail so painstakingly that by 1878 – the year Julius Schmidt of the Athens Observatory published his great Moon map and also the year that Congress organized the United States Geological Survey and assigned to it the task of making large-scale maps of the United States and its territories – it could be said without exaggeration that the earthward hemisphere of the Moon had been depicted in greater detail and with more precision than many parts of the American West were depicted in existing maps of the time." From the book Epic Moon.

Not French, but it appears that the earthward facing side of the Moon was well mapped in 1878.
posted by Rob Rockets at 7:40 PM on August 21


Search for Astronomie/astronomique in Gallica (French National Library).
posted by elgilito at 1:23 AM on August 22


Thanks so much folks, some excellent material there for my purposes, and really went beyond what I needed to be come even more intriguing and deep. Between the links and resources above I got everything I needed and more. Thank you.
posted by aesop at 8:14 AM on August 27


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