Observing by Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century

University of Chicago Press
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Today we are all familiar with the iconic pictures of the nebulae produced by the Hubble Space Telescope’s digital cameras. But there was a time, before the successful application of photography to the heavens, in which scientists had to rely on handmade drawings of these mysterious phenomena. Observing by Hand sheds entirely new light on the ways in which the production and reception of handdrawn images of the nebulae in the nineteenth century contributed to astronomical observation. Omar W. Nasim investigates hundreds of unpublished observing books and paper records from six nineteenth-century observers of the nebulae: Sir John Herschel; William Parsons, the third Earl of Rosse; William Lassell; Ebenezer Porter Mason; Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel; and George Phillips Bond. Nasim focuses on the ways in which these observers created and employed their drawings in data-driven procedures, from their choices of artistic materials and techniques to their practices and scientific observation. He examines the ways in which the act of drawing complemented the acts of seeing and knowing, as well as the ways that making pictures was connected to the production of scientific knowledge. An impeccably researched, carefully crafted, and beautifully illustrated piece of historical work, Observing by Hand will delight historians of science, art, and the book, as well as astronomers and philosophers.
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About the author

Omar W. Nasim is professor for the history of science at the University of Regensburg (Germany), and author of the award-winning book Bertrand Russell and the Edwardian Philosophers: Constructing the World.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jan 6, 2014
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9780226084404
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / General
Science / Astronomy
Science / General
Science / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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