comScore How Victorians Saw Space | The Mary Sue

Victorian Visions of Venusian Vistas

It Came From Outer Space

It might interest the modern reader to recall that there was a period in our scientific history when we gazed upon the stars using powerful telescopes and yet… had not devised the means of capturing those sights in photograph. Yes, a day before we developed the steam powered camera, the gear powered coffee cup, and the Tesla-coil powered dinner table to accompany the fully technologically enhanced lives we enjoy today.

We do enjoy them today, right? Am I getting my alternate timelines mixed up?

Hmm, well, anyway, above you’ll see a Victorian painting of Jupiter, its Great Red Spot clearly visible. And now for the first time I’m imagining Jupiter’s embarrassment at having a pimple for possibly more than three hundred and fifty years.

And honestly, if this is how we interpreted the surface of Mars and the Moon, its no wonder or fiction was full of stuff like War of the Worlds and A Princess of Mars.

Saturn, I must conclude, is the easiest of the planets to draw.

More Victorian era depictions of planets and celestial phenomena can be found here.

(via Flavorwire.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.