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Photo Evidence of Lines (Canals) on Mars

MarsPlate XLVII: Photo Evidence of Lines (Canals) on Mars
Earl C. Slipher
The Photographic Story of Mars
Cambridge, Mass., Sky Pub. Corp., 1962

By 1909, the theory of canals on Mars – and its habitation by intelligent beings – had mostly fallen out of favor. Recent observations with powerful telescopes revealed no signs of the canals and spectroscopic analysis showed that the planet had no water.

Still, hopes for definitive evidence of the canals persisted. In 1962, Earl C. Slipher, an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory who devoted most of his life to the study of Mars, published a book of 500 photographs and drawings made over the previous six decades. Slipher’s work documented all aspects of the surface of the planet, including the controversial canals.

The final plate (displayed here) is an actual photograph (not a printed reproduction) of thirty images of Mars. Slipher hoped that these high-quality photographic images would confirm what he and other canal advocates had observed, and convince the careful observer of their existence as “true markings” on the surface of the planet.