Nasmyth’s plaster relief models

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    I was nosing around the Science Museum Groups Collection website, which I’d highly recommend (link below), and saw they have a number of the Nasmyth plaster cast models of the lunar terrain, as well as photographs of these under different lighting. It rekindled a thought I’d had some time ago about comparing these to more modern day photographs of the lunar surface as seen from Earth.

    I have made an aminated gif of one of these photographs take of Nasmyth’s plaster casts and superimposed an image of the same region, crater Archimedes, taken under similar lighting conditions by Steve Williams of Nene Valley Astronomical Society, 4th February 2017. Steve has given me permission to use his image.

    My overlay isn’t perfect, but it does show tremendous spatial accuracy of the craters, wrinkled ridges and lunar highlands between the two. There are differences in contrast, and whether this is just down to differences in lighting, or whether the Nasmyth plaster cast overly exaggerates some features such as the wrinkle ridges I don’t know. But Nasmyth was remarkably good at what he was doing!

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