'New discoveries on the Moon', c 1838.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
'Nouvelles Decouvertes dans la Lune'. A French print by the Thierry bothers showing the appearance of the landscape and inhabitants of the Moon. These discoveries published in the New York Sun newspaper in 1835 were allegedly reported from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. It was said that the famous astronomer John Herschel had seen such sights from his observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Using a telescope of fantastic dimensions he was reported as having observed all manner of plants and life on the lunar surface. The deception now called the 'Great Moon Hoax' is thought to have been perpetrated by Richard Adam Locke. An Englishman recently arrived in New York, his stunt was an attempt to increase the circulation of this ailing newspaper.