The gibbous Moon, 1880.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of the gibbous Moon, at first quarter, taken on 20 January 1880 by Andrew Ainsle Common (1841-1903), an acclaimed early pioneer of astrophotography. A succesful heating engineer and amateur astronomer, this image was made using Common's 36-inch reflecting telescope at his home in Ealing, West London in England. This is one of the first high-resolution photographs of the Moon and clearly shows the dark areas known as maria (sea in Latin) and the craters in a range of sizes. We now believe that the Moon was bombarded with asteroids and smaller bodies to produce impact basins that flooded with lava to create the darker maria areas we now see.