Lunar crater model 'Copernicus', 1850-1871.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of a plaster model of the cratered surface of the Moon made by James Nasmyth (1808-1890). Nasmyth, a successful industrialist and engineer, based his models on lunar observations made at his 20 inch reflecting telescope. Working from his Moon drawings, he calculated the height of the lunar features by measuring the length of their shadows. These were then photographed with suitable lighting to produce better results than could be achieved at the time with direct lunar photography. Nasmyth went onto photograph a whole series of his lunar models. They were used to illustrate the book, 'The Moon' that Nasmyth published in 1871 with James Carpenter. In his work this photograph is titled, 'Copernicus' after the crater of that name.