Royal Astronomical Society

Specialist Discussion Meeting

‘The History of Astronomical Imaging’

13 January 2012

10:30–15:30 in the Geological Society Lecture Theatre, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BG


Summary: Of all the sciences it is arguable that images have played the greatest role in astronomy, both for the professional and for the interested public. This discussion meeting will consider both the history and technology of imaging in the era of the telescope, and the implication of representing physical phenomena by images created by visualisation techniques, particularly where the radiation is invisible to the eye. Capability and limitations will be traced from drawing and painting, through photography and image intensifiers, to the digital era at all wavelengths. Discussion will be encouraged about the role imaging has played in constructing the astronomical object, and in shaping the public’s view, delivered by astronomers, of the nature of the sky and its contents. We hope to reinforce interaction between practising astronomers and historians of science by reflection from philosophers and historians of art.


The programme is at:


There is no prior registration but a charge of £15 to non-members (£5 to

students) for all or part of the day, cash or cheque only, will be collected at the door. Admission to the subsequent Open (Monthly A&G) Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society is open to all, at no charge.