Mars in the Nineteenth Century

Illustration for article titled Mars in the Nineteenth Century

Using telescopes, astronomers have been mapping the surface of Mars in surprising detail for over 100 years. This map of the entire Martian globe, showing everything from Mare Australe to Mare Boreum, was made in 1890. Now you can check a satellite photo to see how accurate it really was.

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Here's a recent satellite photo of the same area of Mars, taken by NASA in 1998.

Illustration for article titled Mars in the Nineteenth Century
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And here's another, more colorful depiction of the same area, created in the late 1870s.

Illustration for article titled Mars in the Nineteenth Century

Channelling Martian Maps [BilbliOdyssey]

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DISCUSSION

@Dillenger69: The usual explanation is that astronomers were unconsciously playing connect-the-dots with dark features seen on the Martian surface. It's just part of the way our brains are wired to fill in gaps and create patterns where none exist. For example, every human culture I've ever read about has a system of constellations— connect-the-dots again.

I wonder if there's a species Out There that says, "Yeah, it's that 3rd magnitude blue white star between those two red giants 14 degrees below the bright yellow one. What? No, they don't look like a puppy. What are you, high?"