DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Martian canals, historical artwork. Sketches of the planet Mars, drawn by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli between 1883 and 1884. Schiaparelli saw many dark lines criss-crossing the planet and called them 'canali' (channels), which was mistranslated as 'canals'. Today it is known that these canali were merely optical illusions. The dark triangle was called Syrtis Mayor. The white area at bottom is the southern polar cap.
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