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March 2016: Astronomical beauty

Astronomy Book 1891 pg 1

G Turner Davis was a local man from Donnington Gardens, Reading who produced a compilation of astronomical sketches as a guide for novice astronomers. The contents are fascinating in their detail of planets, comets, sunspots and lunar views which are drawn by hand using a small telescope.

Indeed Davis states how the sketches were "added in order to show what a small telescope can show in Reading, in the hope that other natives of the town may be induced to consider the advantages of Astronomy as a healthy and instructive recreation" (ref. D/EX1808/1).

Other local astronomers also contributed sketches including the Reverend  J. M. Bacon of Cold Ash. Bacon clearly had an eye for detail as you can really get a sense of 'seeing' the landscape of the moon in his lunar drawings as shown here.

Astronomy book 1891 lunar

There are many sketches of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn by Davies in the volume. Here we see one for Saturn. Astronomy Book 1891 saturn

The drawings are really quite beautiful and could be classed as works of art in their own right. Together with notes on stars and meteors, the sketches provide a real insight into what the universe looked like through a small telescope in Berkshire in around 1890. Hopefully the astronomical sketches inspired others to take up astronomy as a hobby as Davis intended.


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