Canals on Mars

1877 Canals on Mars

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Giovanni Schiaparelli astronomy

Canals on Mars

Giovanni Schiaparelli not only identified the channels but he named the “seas” and “continents” of Mars, and in 1861 he discovered the asteroid 69 Hesperia.

I confess that I see thin white lines connecting the stars of the Big Dipper when I stare at it in the night sky. It may be surprising, if we should ever see the world through the eyes and brain of another species, to discover how much we imagine our world to suit ourselves. At any rate, we should forgive Schiaparelli his canali and imagine his joy in discovering another world with a pattern and a purpose. Maybe we should even forgive the people who mistranslated Schiaparelli’s Italian and those who took the unintended distinction to justify their belief in life on Mars.

See also in The book of science:

Readings on wikipedia:

  • Giovanni Schiaparelli.” Compare the beautiful surface map by Schiaparelli . . .
  •  . . . to the true-color photograph of Mars taken by the Hubble Space Telescope: “Mars
  • 69 Hesperia