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Paper Plate Education
"Serving the Universe on a Paper Plate"

Internet Caveat

Don't necessarily believe everything you read.

Be careful about what you deem to be true on the Internet.  Below are images and the accompanying text copied verbatim from two distinct websites about the transit of Venus.  Are we to believe these are really two different pictures of the same event by two different artists?  

Eyre Crowe' s painting, in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, depicting Jeremiah Horrocks as an intense, emaciated puritan, observing the 1639 transit of Venus with an elaborate equatorial telescopic apparatus. Manchester Town Hall, architect Alfred Waterhouse. The Ford Madox Brown Murals. Crabtree Watching the Transit of Venus.

Allan Chapman writes at http://www.longtononline.co.uk/his_horrocks.html

"But the greatest romanticization of Horrocks is to be found in Eyre Crowe' s painting, in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, which depicts him as an intense, emaciated Puritan, observing the 1639 transit of Venus with an elaborate equatorial telescopic apparatus. William Crabtree fared no better at the hands of Ford Madox Brown, who painted the Salford merchant observing the same transit in one of the twelve historical murals that were commissioned to decorate the Great Hall of Manchester's new Town Hall in about 1880. Crabtree, who was a successful twenty-nine-year-old merchant in 1639, is depicted as a wild-eyed, skeletal septuagenarian observing with a brass telescope of late eighteenth-century design. He is accompanied by an appropriately pre-Raphaelite wife."

An image of the Eyre Painting, presently on loan from the Walker Gallery and hanging in the Liverpool Museum Planetarium , can be seen at http://www.uclan.ac.uk/facs/science/physastr/misc/horrock.htm

The painting by Ford Madox Brown depicting Crabtree (shown above) watching the transit of Venus--a small version of a mural in Manchester Town Hall--is displayed in the Manchester City Galleries.

In a similar vein, be careful about how astronomy is depicted in children's books, too.   The Bad Moons Rising page includes inaccuracies in moon phases, shadows, and orbits.

Contributed by Chuck Bueter.

Parts excerpted from a poster at the GLPA Annual Conference, October 2002. 

 

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