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See more of Trouvelot's artwork

The 19th-century artist’s illustrations reveal not just some of the sky’s more famous objects, but also the attitudes toward them on Earth.

Great-comet
Great comet of 1881
In the January 2011 issue, Randall Rosenfeld and Bill Sheehan brought to life the work of Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, whose astronomical images shaped how his peers in the late 19th century imagined the heavens. Some of his illustrations could be confused with modern-day photographs, and some look like the work of surrealist painters. It’s fascinating in this era of Hubble photos to look back on some of the first wide-spread astronomical images and see the cosmos as our ancestors saw them. This collection showcases more of Trouvelot’s works, including his talent capturing the intricacies of mechanical devices.

Click an image to see a larger version.

Total solar eclipse of August 7, 1869

Total solar eclipse of August 7, 1869

Unless otherwise noted, images are from Michael E. Bakich, personal library.

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