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Dreamy drawings of space by a 19th-century scientist

The Orion Nebula.
The Orion Nebula.
Image: Courtesy New York Public Library
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A century before NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope, French artist and astronomer Etienne Leopold Trouvelot captured the night sky by hand.

Images released for high-res download today by the New York Public Library show celestial objects and phenomena through Trouvelot’s eyes. The illustrator (who was also a problematic entomologist) moved to the US from France in the 1850s. He worked at Harvard as an astronomer and drew based on studies as well as late-night observations he made in the 1870s and 1880s. See a selection below.

A large plain on the moon

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Image: Courtesy New York Public Library

Mars

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Image: Courtesy New York Public Library

Aurora borealis

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Image: Courtesy New York Public Library

A meteor shower

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Image: Courtesy New York Public Library

A total solar eclipse

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Image: Courtesy New York Public Library

Part of the Milky Way

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Image: Courtesy New York Public Library