The Airpump by Joseph Wright
The Air Pump by Joseph Wright (1734-1797). This artwork was painted in 1768. Its full title is 'An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump' and is the second of the series of 'candlelight' compositions that established Wright's name. It depicts a public demonstration of the effects of a vacuum created by an air pump using a live bird (top centre). The vacuum suffocates the bird and leads to a painful death, and a distressed female spectator can be seen (right). 'The Air Pump' was influenced by meetings between Wright and his friends, when they demonstrated experiments and discussed the latest scientific developments.
© SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Soviet satellite monitoring, 1958
Soviet satellite monitoring. Telescopes being used, in 1958, by Soviet astronomers, to monitor a satellite as it passes overhead. These astronomers are research associates of the Pulkovo Observatory, near St Petersburg, Russia. The world's first satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched on 4th October 1957. By the time these observations took place in October 1958, there were three satellites in orbit: Sputnik 3, Explorer 1, and Explorer 4. The last two were part of the US program of Explorer satellites.
© RIA NOVOSTI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Thomas Wright, British astronomer
Thomas Wright (1711-86), British astronomer. Wright was born at Byers Green in northern England. In 1730 he set up a school at which he taught mathematics and navigation. He taught himself the essentials of architecture and garden design and was employed by wealthy patrons. This supported his work in astronomy. He is best known for his suggestion that the Milky Way is actually a disc-shaped layer of stars in which we live. He also suggested that some of the faint nebulae that could be observed were other galaxies at incredible distances. This engraved portrait first appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine in 1793.
© Todd-White Art Photography