We are venturing #outofthisworld past the moon this week, far into the Milky Way, and beyond. These striking ombrè plates show a small grouping of nebulae of peculiar forms, including the Crab Nebula found in the constellation Taurus, the Cone Nebula in the constellation Monoceros (Unicorn), and a Spiral Nebula in the constellation Virgo.
The spiral nebula, you might have noticed, looks an awful lot like a galaxy, and that’s because it is. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, the existence of galaxies outside of our own wasn’t known or understood. Spiral nebulae were the focus of the great Shapley-Curtis Debate in 1920, but it wasn’t until 1924 that Edwin Hubble was able to prove that the spiral-shaped Andromeda Nebula was actually a galaxy of its own, comprised of stars, far outside the Milky Way.
J.A.S. Rollwin. Astronomy simplified for general reading. London: William Tegg & Co; New York: Scribner, Welford, & Armstrong, 1875.