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Hevelius (1611-1687) was an astronomer in Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland). He was the first to publish very detailed images of the Moon's surface, showing craters, shadows and lunar mountains. Until Galileo's observations earlier in the 17th century, people had believed the Moon was a perfectly smooth sphere, not subject to change or decay. These new images of its rough surface prompted scientists to ask how the Moon was made, and to question the worldview of the ancient Greek philosophers.
Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900) was Astronomer Royal for Scotland and a professor of astronomy at Edinburgh University. In 1856 he took part in an expedition to the rugged volcanic mountains of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The conditions were excellent for astronomical observations, and Piazzi Smyth experimented with new photographic methods of recording images of the Tenerife landscape.
The Earth's atmosphere makes it difficult to see into space it distorts and blocks light. However, in 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was launched. It orbits the Earth and sends back images much sharper and more detailed than those recorded by Earth-based telescopes. The original images are not coloured, but Hubble scientists and artists use colour to bring out details that would normally not be visible to the human eye. In the image of the Crab Nebula, the colours indicate different elements expelled during the star explosion that formed the nebula.
Café Scientifique 20 May
Industry networking event 21 May
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