Epic Moon

From The Moon
Jump to: navigation, search

Sheehan and Dobbins: Epic Moon (2001)

(glossary entry)


Excellent book on the history of visual observations of the Moon, or as the subtitle accurately says, A history of lunar exploration in the age of the telescope. Written by William P. Sheehan and Thomas A. Dobbins.

Additional Information

Review by Danny Caes (spring 2014)

  • Although this is a VERY interesting book (!), it could have been much more interesting if something was mentioned about the French selenographer Felix Chemla Lamech and his Aires Elliptiques. Unfortunately, Felix C. Lamech seems to be non-existent.
  • The so-called "Cross" of Robert E. Curtiss (at Fra Mauro Zeta) is also missing, or...?? (anyway, I can't see Curtiss in the alphabetic index).
  • This book contains several typographical errors. Where on earth (or on the moon) was the proof-reader who was supposed to detect possible errors during pre-press activities? I would like to know if there ever will be a second revised printing.
  • On page 5 of the book, it looks like a piece of text is missing (probably "interrupted" by Figure 1.1)(the portrait of Galileo Galilaei and accompanying text).
  • The orbital photograph of Vallis Schroteri and its Cobra Head (page 324, figure 17.18) was made during Apollo 15, not Apollo 14 (Apollo 14 was an equatorial mission, the Vallis Schroteri's location is much too northward).
  • The alphabetic index of this book is not at all complete, and contains several typographical errors. See my additional appendix-list below!

Danny's additional appendix to the book's incomplete alphabetic index (pages 357-363)

There's a lot of absent names in the book's alphabetic index (although these people are mentioned in the book itself).
Several observatories, also mentioned in the book, are (just like the missing people) absent in the index.
In other words, unlike the index there are much more people and observatories included in this book!
It's a worthwile pastime to try to find the corresponding Wikipedia pages for each one of the mentioned (missing) persons and observatories! I think this is the most perfect symbiosis of a printed book and the internet.



Strange to say, the main one of the many Beer's (Wilhelm Beer) is not mentioned in the index. The same phenomenon is seen at Nasmyth.


Although this person IS mentioned in the index, he is TWO times mentioned (!), as Leclerc, George-Louis (page 120), and as de Buffon, Comte (also page 120)



Was this professor Esenbeck one of the brothers Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck and Theodor Friedrich Ludwig Nees von Esenbeck ?


It all started here with the discovery of the absence of Franz (absent in the alphabetic index). The second absent name was Saunder.





The absence of the name Krieger in this book's alphabetic index is a real mystery. Johann N. Krieger was one of the most important persons in the history of moon observing and selenography! On the other hand, the appearance of the name Blavatsky in the index (the occultist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, page 285) is another mystery... (was she an important person in the history of moon observing and selenography?).



  • MacDonald or T.L.MacDonald (probably Thomas Logie MacDonald, page 288)
  • Mach (Ernst Waldfried Josef Wenzel Mach, page 260 - Reference 7)
  • Malvasia (Marquis Malvasia, or Cornelio Malvasia, Marquis di Bismantova, page 27)
  • Mang (Adolf Mang, page 276)(who collaborated with Philipp Johann Heinrich Fauth on two popular works on general astronomy; Wegweiser am Himmel and Einfache Himmelskunde)
  • Melloni (Johann Friedrich Julius Schmidt's name for an enigmatic surface formation north of crater Hansteen, page 275)(see also J.F.J.Schmidt's names)
  • Melville (Herman Melville, page 355 - Reference 7)
  • Merz (Georg Merz, page 134)
  • Milton (John Milton, page 122)
  • Munchow (Professor Munchow, page 84, see at: Professors Esenbeck and Munchow)
  • Mysius (or Mons Mysius)(should have been a name of Hevelius for crater Triesnecker (page 81)(in his book Mapping and Naming the Moon, Ewen A. Whitaker mentioned craters Rhaeticus + Dembowski as Mons Mysius)


J.H.Nasmyth's father (the painter Alexander Nasmyth) and his brother (the landscape artist Patrick Milner Nasmyth) are mentioned in the index, the main person (James Hall Nasmyth) is not...
The same phenomenon is seen at the Beer brothers and their father (Wilhelm and Michael, and father Jakob Herz Beer).



  • Peal (Samuel Edward Peal, page 226) (from several sources on the web: Samuel Edward Peal passed away in Assam, India, on July 29, 1897. He was born December 31, 1834. Originally an artist, he went to India in 1862 as a tea-planter. In 1873 he discovered that tea blight was caused by an Aphis, whose life history he investigated. He did useful work in exploring the Naga Hills to show the practicability of a direct route from India to China. He completed a work on the grasses and trees of Assam, but the MS. was destroyed through the burning of his bungalow. Latterly, he gave much attention to astronomy. His theory of lunar surfacing as due to glaciation was well known at the time of his death, and he wrote a paper on "A Possible Cause of Lunar Libration." He was a frequent contributor to the Indian Press and to Nature on natural history subjects)
  • Pericles (Pericles, Prologue - page ix)
  • Pfeffel (Johann Andreas Pfeffel, page 44)
  • Phillips (Theodore Evelyn Reece Phillips, aka T. E. R. Phillips, page 156)
  • Piazzi Smyth (Charles Piazzi Smyth, page 187)
  • Pic Du Midi observatory (page 314)
  • Pratt (Henry Pratt, page 193) (1838-1891, English watchmaker and observer of the moon)
  • Pulfrich (Carl Pulfrich, page 278)
  • Pythagoras of Samos (Pythagoras of Samos, page 1)(in the index, only the Pythagoreans are mentioned)





  • Talmage (observer of crater Linné, page 166)(probably C.G.Talmage)
  • Tiergarten observatory (page 104)
  • Tietjen (Friedrich Tietjen, page 167)(see at: Forster and Tietjen)
  • Tombaugh (Clyde William Tombaugh, page 278)
  • Tulley (probably Charles Tulley; English optician)(page 142)



Note: both the von Bieberstein brothers are mentioned in the index, BUT, also at von Moll as "Bieberstein von Moll ", see below: The odd von Moll case.

The odd von Moll case
The alphabetic index of the book EPIC MOON shows two non-existent brothers called "Bieberstein von Moll " and "Gruithuisen von Moll " (??).
According to this book's (erroneously compiled) index, both of these "von Molls" were printed on page 220. Are they? No they aren't.
On page 220 there's the Brothers Bieberstein, only one von Moll, and... Gruithuisen (Baron Franz von Paula (Franciscus de Paula) Gruithuisen)




LPOD Articles

A Perfect Collection of Lunar Books


  • Sheehan, William P., and Thomas A. Dobbins. 2001. Epic moon: a history of lunar exploration in the age of the telescope. Richmond, Va: Willmann-Bell (publisher's page).