“A Sight Man May Never See?” Here is the first known study between an esteem Astronomer and a famous Artist to discover, explore, and interpret the lunar surface. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 11.25.49 PM.pngThe first documented S.T.E.A.M.* education and research of the 20th Century.  Oil painting of  The Earth as seen from The Moon by Henry Russell Butler (1926) [American Museum of Natural History]. 

Russell painted several Earth-scapes as seen from the Moon in the period 1925-1926 during the course of this now famous study.  It arose after conversations at a late-night garden party at Princeton University and a “challenge”.

This is the first know study between an esteem Astronomer and a famous Artist to discover and interpret new discoveries. Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first humans to witness the scene portrayed in 1969 on Apollo 11.

A similar oil painting of the Earth as seen from Moon was still hanging from the walls of Griffith Park Observatory (City of Los Angeles) in the late 1950s.  It was a collaboration of Prof. Dr. Henry Norris Russell (of the famous Hertsprung-Russell or HR Diagram outlining luminosity of stars and their size or mass, or their position in stellar evolution) and Butler.

To paint the reflections and angles on the lunar surface, Butler used photographs from Mount Wilson Observatory’s 100″ telescope in California.  He met its crew near Los Angeles setting up for the Solar Eclipse.  They told him of their photos of the Moon’s surface and he knew he must visit Mt. Wilson.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 10.12.13 PMThis may confirm the link with Griffith Park Observatory, a long-time collaborator with Mt. Wilson, as well as, the affinities begun and thriving as Butler prepared for and painted the 1923 Total Eclipse in Los Angeles. [photo courtesy of ANHM]

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The “first Baily’s bead” is colloquial known as the “Diamond Ring Effect”.  This was the first recorded full-color and true reproduction of the Diamond Ring Effect. It is amazing that this ability to truly reproduce it accurately only occurred 95 years ago.  Before that most of humanity had to witness this event for themselves to recognize its beauty and relevance.  

1925 Lunar Landscape Moon from the Mt Wilson ObservatoryLunar lanscape photographed from Mt. Wilson’s 100″ Telescope, 1925, one of which Butler utilized for the study (reproduced under license to this website).

It was a scientific research project in 1925-26 when questions arose about the potential volcanism then cooling, and lack of atmosphere on the Moon by Prof Russell.  It shows a craggy surface, with smooth rolling hills…

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*Science Technology Engineering Art Math = STEAM not STEM




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