SETI public: A Question Concerning Lowell's Alleged 1907 Photographs of the Martian Canals

From: Alex Michael Bonnici (
Date: Tue Jul 29 2003 - 19:15:04 PDT

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    Hello Gang,
                    Currently I am involved in a series of public education
    activities that will be organised in late August in connection to the
    upcoming Mars Opposition. I will be giving the first of a series of
    public lectures concerning Mars. The first lecture is entitled “Lowell
    and the Martian Canal Saga”. This has always been a favourite topic of
    mine. When I was teaching High School Physics and Astronomy in the
    United States I repeated astronomer Edward Walter Maunder’s experiment
    “School Boy” experiment and got some interesting results that the
    Martian canals were an optical illusion.

    In my research I keep coming across references that claim that the
    Martian Canals were photographed.

    One case in point being the following quote from a pseudo scientific web

    “Lowell made a special expedition to Chile in 1907 and obtained the
    first photographic evidence of the canals. His successor Dr. E.C.
    Slipher had better success in later years with observations from South
    Africa, when camera equipment had improved considerably. The Martian
    canals are seen on plates VI and XLVII in the book, The Photographic
    Story of Mars, by E.C. Slipher. The edition I
    obtained was published by Northland Press, Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1962.

    Mention of the alleged 1907 photographs is also made in Chapter 8
    ( of The
    Planet Mars:
    A History of Observation and Discovery by William Sheehan the University
    of Arizona Press, Tucson Copyright © 1996

    Does anyone have copies of these Alleged photographs that they can send
    me via e-mail or the URL of any online web page that has these
    photographs? Also is it true that some people claim to have captured the
    canals on CCD images? Please provide references.

    I beforehand thank you for your help,

    Yours truly,

    Alex Michael Bonnici

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