Martian canals

Martian canals

Fig. 8.5 . During the opposition of 1877, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910) mapped features he thought he saw on Mars, including a vast network of long, thin, straight lines criss-crossing the planetís surface. Some of the canals have apparently doubled, or divided in two, in this Mercator projection drawn by Schiaparelli during the opposition of 1881 using an 8.6-inch (22-centimeter) refractor. At this time, the apparent diameter of Mars was only 16 seconds of arc. Schiaparelli named these features canali, and they were likened to man-made water canals by subsequent observers, including Camille Flammarion (1842-1925) and Percival Lowell (1855-1916). Nevertheless, most astronomers failed to see the canals, and spacecraft have not detected them.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University