Prior to our being spoilt by the regular image publishings of organizations like NASA and ESO, astronomy was a difficult practice with a long road leading up to where we are now. The vast changes we have gone through in our deep space observations over just the past century can be witnessed by comparison of some of the earliest photographs of space with contemporary ones.
But telescopes have existed long before photography. With the invention of telescopes, astronomers had to record their observations through art. Galileo was one of the first to do astronomical art with a telescope, and below are two of his lunar illustrations.
Since the invention of photography, astronomical drawings have become a rare find. Most astronomy is done on deep sky objects that can’t be seen with the naked eye and need long exposure photographs. The space artist is a dying breed.
But this leads me to the website Astronomy Sketch of the Day! It’s an archive of thousands of sketches and drawings done by astronomers and hobbyists by peering through their telescopes at night. Unfortunately, the site is on a hiatus, and they don’t update daily anymore, but they have left up all of their submitted drawings for you to appreciate.
Check it out. Get inspired. Look up. The title image for this article is a sample image from the site, but instead of me spoiling it all for you go look at the website!