Although this photograph appears to show the dimpled surface of a distant moon crater, it actually represents a papier-mâché or clay model, as it was technically impossible to take close-up views of the lunar surface in the 1850s. On the right side of the sheet, this crater-recognizable because of its distinctive features-is carefully labeled "Copernicus," after the great Polish voyager and scientist of the 1500s. On the upper left, a scale shows the size of the crater in miles.

The image, which once belonged to the distinguished astronomer John Herschel, reflected the new concern of scientists in the 1800s with detailed observation of this visible but unreachable place.

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  • Title: Moon Crater
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: late 1850s
  • Physical Dimensions: 13 x 16.5 cm (5 1/8 x 6 1/2 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Salted paper print from a collodion negative
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Print
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XP.259.16
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: British
  • Classification: Photographs