The Old, Awesome Space Drawings of E.L. Trouvelot

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If you think NASA's artistic renderings of the deep beyond are cool, you will love these space drawings from French astronomer and artist Etienne Leopold Trouvelot.

Trouvelot was born in France and fled to America after the 1851 coup d'etat. Unfortunately, beautiful drawings of space are not when Trouvelot is best known for: An amateur entomologist, he accidentally spilled some eggs he had brought from France and thereby introduced the gypsy moth to North America, one of the most destructive pests to American forests.

But the gypsy moth should not be his only legacy. Here are his beautiful drawings of space, from an atlas published in the early 1880s and recently digitized by the New York Public Library.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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