Comet theories. 16th-century artwork from a book about comets. The view looks north (Aquilo is the north wind). The book's text refers to two 'ghost' stars in Cassiopeia (probably the nova of 1572) and a flaming sky (a supposed effect of comets). This woodcut is from 'De cometis dissertationes novae' (1580) by the Swiss physician and theologian Thomas Erastus (1524-1583). This was part of a debate taking place in Europe at the time, prompted by the comet of 1577-8. Erastus argued that comets could not cause pestilence as was popularly believed. Caecius is the north-east wind, and Argestes the north-west wind.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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