Angelo Secchi,
Two photographs on albumin-sensitive paper,
62x72 mm e 40x54 mm
Photo Archives, inv. 25810-25811
Panizzi Library, Reggio Emilia

Always attentive to every technological innovation, Secchi was a pioneer also in the application of photographic techniques in astronomy. His first attempts date back to 1851, when he tried to photograph a total Sun eclipse, visible as a partial one from the Observatory of the Roman College. A similar attempt conducted later in 1860 in Spain was successful.
The photographs of Moon here depicted were found among the manuscripts of Naborre Campanini of the Biblioteca Panizzi:they are framed and on their back there is the date and a handwritten note (Figure 1). Saved in the Fototeca, the photographs furnish proof of the serie made by Angelo Secchi together with the Roman Pharmacist Francesco Barelli in 1857, when he started the photographic tests on the crescent Moon, applying a small dark room to the ocular of the telescope. The picture projected on the frosted glass of the telescope had a diameter of approximately 60 cm.Substituting the frosted glass with “the same framework with the crystal plate prepared with the Collodion”, Angelo Secchi obtained the beautiful  and fortunate series of photographs , that would bring him to the editing of the Lunar Atlas.

Laura Gasparini, Biblioteca Panizzi
Monica Leoni, Biblioteca Panizzi

Laura Gasparini, Padre Angelo Secchi e la fotografia della luna, “Reggio storia”, 15 (1992), n.s., n. 1, p. 16-19;
Laura Gasparini, Padre Angelo Secchi e l'applicazione della fotografia nelle osservazioni astronomiche, “Fotologia”, 7 (1990), n. 12, p. 34-47.