Science Art: Perspective view of the sky..., from "Refraction by Ice Crystals" in Instructions to Marine Meteorological Observers, 1938.
These are the optical effects you have to be aware of if you’re going to describe the sky when ice-filled cirrus clouds are overhead. Ice crystals refract sunlight differently than water droplets, and you get these curves and halos which a trained meteorologist (of the 1930s) had to be able to record accurately.
It’s from a U.S. Weather Bureau manual for meteorologists that I found in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Three kinds of squid-kids (I think; at least one is identified as a juvenile), from the research expedition of the Norwegian steamer Michael Sars, published in 1912. These are listed as being “after Chun,” although exactly who Chun was isn’t described in the excerpt of The Depths of the Ocean I found at archive.org. The author does say, “It was a special pleasure to me that Chun undertook to describe the Cephalopoda obtained during our Atlantic cruise,” and that Chun apparen…
It’s funny, see? See?
This cartoon appeared in Resonance between an article called “Genetics to Genetic Algorithms: Solution to Optimisation Problems Using Natural Systems” and “Questioning a Dogma: Do Bacteria Know When and How to Mutate?”
I’m not sure if this really is a scientific illustration, but I think, given the time, it counts as natural history. This thing – heads made of… well… non-head things, that was Arcimboldo’s thing. He also made stained glass windows and traditional religious art, but that’s not nearly so well remembered as these illusion paintings. It probably helps that one of them was a portrait of his patron, the Holy Roman Emperor, as the god of the seasons.
But this is the spirit…
Science Art: favorite image Petrus Plancius Instructing Students in the Science of Navigation, early 17th century
The Age of Exploration included at least a little bit of schoolwork. Here are navigation students learning the ways of current and coastline. Their teacher, Petrus Plancius, was a cartographer and Calvinist minister who helped Henry Hudson explore what we now know as New York, helped set up the Dutch East India company, and created some of the first globes not of Earth but of the constellations visible overhead, including some seen only from the Southern Hemisphere.
Click to embiggen
An image of the summer sky (in the Northern Hemisphere) by William Peck, F.R.A.S., from his book, The constellations and how to find them; 13 maps, showing the position of the constellations in the sky during each month of any year….
In 1887, this was a good way to learn about the sky. It hasn’t changed much since then, but we see a lot less because of all the electric streetlights and security lights and lights left on in our windows.
That smoky trail of the Milky Wa…
Behold the science of engineering. LEGO engineering.
from Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, La Palma, Picture Archives, (via Barbelith).