Ten 1800s Astronomical Drawings vs. Modern NASA Images

A 19th-century French-born artist Etienne Leopold Trouvelot had a job at Harvard College’s observatory, and he created sketches of astronomical observations. Although Trouvelot himself is less well-known for his astronomical art, he had mesmerizing, stunningly accurate astronomical drawings.

Today, Trouvelot’s arts are digitized and made available by the New York Public Library. Also, a crater on Mars bears his name.

We have curated Trouvelot’s drawings for you and added NASA’s photos to compare them.

The Planet Jupiter. Observed November 1, 1880, at 9h. 30m. P.M.

Check out that Great Red Spot and the bands on Jupiter’s surface! NASA’s Juno recently reached Jupiter and sent back a less clear image, as well, but we can look forward to much more detail soon as Juno circles Jupiter 37 times at varying altitudes to photograph its surface.

Jupiter From the Ground

This image of Jupiter and its moons Io and Ganymede was acquired by amateur astronomer Damian Peach on Sept. 12, 2010, when Jupiter was close to opposition. South is up and the “Great Red Spot” is visible in the image.

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

A perigee full moon, or supermoon, is seen behind the Washington Monument during a total lunar eclipse on Sunday, September 27, 2015, in Washington, DC.

Chaos at the Heart of Orion

NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes teamed up to expose the chaos that baby stars are creating 1,500 light years away in a cosmic cloud called the Orion nebula.

The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules

The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, one of the brightest globular star clusters in the northern sky. Telescopic views reveal the spectacular cluster’s hundreds of thousands of stars.

Milky Way Viewed From the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image from the International Space Station and posted it to social media on Sept. 28, 2014, writing, “The Milky Way steals the show from Sahara sands that make the Earth glow orange.”

Up and Over

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 16 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Feb.

Image of Solar Eclipse as seen by Hinode Satellite

The Hinode satellite observing our sun captured images of the moon traversing the face of the sun during a solar eclipse this week. On Wednesday, July 22, 2009, a total eclipse of the Sun was visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses half of Earth.

Aurora Borealis

The shot from the International Space Station has slightly less curvature than Trouvelot’s drawing, but it’s a similarly spectacular view of this phenomenon.

Aurora Borealis Over the Midwest

Aurora Borealis steals the scene in this nighttime photograph shot from the International Space Station as the orbital outpost flew over the Midwest recently.

Two Coronal Holes on the Sun

This image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on March 16, 2015, shows two dark spots, called coronal holes. The lower coronal hole was one of the biggest observed in decades.

Ali Kaya


Ali Kaya

This is Ali. Bespectacled and mustachioed father, math blogger, and soccer player. I also do consult for global math and science startups.