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The representation of space changes with the science

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Carte blanche. Programs chinese and indian to the participation of the arab countries studied by Jörg Matthias Dietermann in his book, Space Science and the Arab World (I. B. Tauris, 2018, not translated), the enthusiasm for a new phase of the conquest of space is globalised, reflecting the emergence of new scientific powers. All of this is now well-known. On the other hand, were less interested in the uses of images in the communication of science. Yet, they are at the heart of an imaginary world of exploration of new worlds.

Whether the Moon, Mars or sun storms studied by the astrophysicist Miho January of the Institut d’astrophysique spatiale, a specialist in the physics of the Sun and space weather, the astrophysicists deploy a creativity unparalleled to go further than the catalogue advertising the wonders of a exo-nature that appears sometimes familiar, sometimes threatening.

Le cratère lunaire Copernique, présenté comme étant d’origine volcanique, dans un ouvrage de 1873 de Richard A. Proctor. The crater lunar Copernique, presented as being of volcanic origin, in a book of 1873 by Richard A. Proctor. Richard A. Proctor – BNF

By focusing on the long-term to these visualizations, Laurence Guignard, master of conferences at the university of Lorraine, has developed a real intellectual genealogy of these constructs, epistemic sophisticated. From Galileo and Johannes Hevelius, based in the Seventeenth century the discipline of the sélénologie (the study of the Moon), the representation of a goddess of the Moon and the practice of the catalog and the collection are closely associated. While at the beginning of the Nineteenth century the figure of the lunar is still closer to the portrait or the landscape around the art of drawing, at the end of the Nineteenth century, a new epistemology emerges around maps and charts that are based less on realism than on an ideal of modeling and abstraction, where the surface of the Moon is table of coordinates, expressing the fashion of the topographies from the moon.

A change of scale is also evident, as one passes from a vision of the star in its entire attention to the ” servings “, the details, the fragments, which will allow the analysis of lunar regions. The manufacture of scale models of the volcanoes in the moon in the 1870’s by James Nasmyth, underscores this commitment to the Moon ” a world “.

Shadow and dust

In the Twentieth century, the astronomy moon is renewed also by the importance of visual technologies in the sciences astronomical borrowed from the Earth sciences. Geology becomes a science reference, encouraging astronomers to analyze the depth of the Moon, but also its volcanism, its internal structure, the study of its soil. Over several centuries, the Moon has won both a vertical position relative to the Earth, a thickness and a relief, whereas with the color of the landscape we are dealing with “a matter of the lack of” made of shadows and dust, two essential elements of the ontology lunar.