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Monday, May 3, 2010

Sun, Moon & Stars

There is this old book I have that I had forgotten about.

I purchased it in Covent Garden in London some years ago at a little antiques book shop. As I've mentioned in the past, coming from a NASA family and being so close to all things space my entire life, I snatched this little gem up without hesitation.

This morning I flipped through it and thought it might be worth sharing with you folks out in New Eden.

The author of this book is actually a woman (quite unusual for its time, published in 1879) one Agnes Giberne, and she had quite the imagination. I look at her illustrations, and read her daydreamings and smile. She was only a century too early.

She ponders sitting on the surface of the moon, looking back at the earth and says,

"The stars shine with dazzling brightness, and the huge body of earth, always seeming to hang motionless at one fixed point in the sky, gives brilliant light, though at present only half her face is lit up and half is in shadow. Still her shape is plainly to be seen... She covers a space on the sky more than a dozen times as large as that covered by the full moon in our sky.

It would be worth while to stay here, and watch the half-earth grow into magnificent full-earth."

This image of the Earth rise was taken
during lunar orbit by the Apollo 11 mission crew in July of 1969.

Then compare photos taken from one of the lunar landings, you would think, she in fact had experienced this first hand.

An imagined illustration of and "earth-rise" from the moon.

I love this quote:

"And as our journeyings together are for a while to be away from earth, we shall find ourselves obliged to count her as something quite small in the great universe, where so many larger and mightier things are to be found, -if indeed they are mightier.

Not that we have to say good-bye altogether to our old home. We must linger about her for a while before starting, and afterwards it will be often needful to come back, with speed swifter than the flight of light, that we may compare notes on the sizes and conditions of other places visited by us."

These thoughts and wonders, shared by us today, from a woman over a century ago. Some already have come true, "we must linger about her for a while before starting,"..... is exactly our International Space Station... paving our way to further reaches of space.

And her quote is also, in some way, a connection to our fantasy in EVE, exploration.... and the dream to return to our "old home", with a realization of flying at the speed of light.


  1. Wow, pretty wonderful find. Really eloquent writing too.

    I've got an old set of encyclopedias from the 1930's that my grandad gave me before he passed, and it's really fascinating how imaginative the writing in something that was supposed to be for reference is. Entries on scientific subjects particularly... like the one for lighting is titled "Zeus's Fury". There are also some very not-PC entries, as you'd guess from the time.

    But 1879. That's just awesome.

  2. Oh I could imagine!

    I've got a set of books about WWII published between 1944 and 1946.. they are QUITE interesting! ;-)

  3. Very cool! That's a great find.

  4. That is a real treasure. I hope you'll post more pictures!

  5. A great find. I have an old copy of the Illiad, published around the same time (or perhaps a bit earlier) that I picked up in an antiques book store in Istanbul; it's in the original ancient greek but that just seems to make it all the more fascinating.


  6. Makes you wonder how quaint and simple we will seem in another hundred years.

    "I just found this reference to something the ancients called Eve... amazing!"

  7. LOL Bryan!! It's so true.

    Oh how the interwebs will immortalize our meanderings for all eternity.