Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

da Vinci, Leonardo

  • Thomas Hockey
Reference work entry

Alternate Name

 Vinci, Leonardo da

Born Florence, (Italy), 15 April 1452

Died Cloux, near Amboise, (Indre-et-Loire), France, 2 May 1519

da Vinci, Leonardo. Courtesy of History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries, Small Portraits Collectio

Artist Leonardo da Vinci, of Florence and Milan, produced three naked-eye renderings of the Moon. He thought of the Earth’s satellite as a nonuniform mirror (likely watery with some land) reflecting the light of the Sun. Knowing that a smooth sea would result in a specular reflection, da Vinci imagined white-capped waves breaking on lunar shores. He also correctly identified “earthshine” as being produced by sunlight reflected from the Earth to the Moon.

Selected Reference

  1. Reaves, Gibson and Carlo Pedretti (1987). “Leonardo Da Vinci’s Drawings of the Surface Features of the Moon.” Journal for the History of Astronomy18: 55–58.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth ScienceUniversity of Northern IowaCedar FallsUSA