The Moon is Water

Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated with the moon and its physical properties. He studied it intently and came to simpler conclusions based on the complex observations he collected. One of his boldest conclusions was that the Moon contained water, or was made of water. His skills as an artist allowed him to understand the movement of light and its reflection properties on different surfaces such as land and water. He was also aware of the transmission of light from one celestial body to another as well as the optical properties of the Moon. Combining his knowledge and interest in astronomy with his understanding of light properties, he came to the conclusion that the moon was made of water, or at least contained water. In his notebooks, he demonstrates his belief that the Moon had an abundance of water through illustrations and descriptions. He believed that waves on the Moon were responsible for how the sun’s light reflected off of the moon and onto Earth. It is interesting to see that on this same page he showed an allegiance to the Ptolemaic system, describing that the sun and moon orbit the Earth. This is important because it illustrates that he was finally testing the limits of the knowledge of his time, and soon he would question the system that had been accepted for the past 1400 years.

Sources:"NASA, Da Vinci, and The Moon." Suli. 30 Mar. 2012. Accessed 28 Feb. 2018.

Ivan. “The Leonardo Notebooks.” Ancient code. Accessed 14 Mar. 2018.

Image source: NC Museum of Art, Public Domain. Da-Vinci-Codex-NCMA_726_668_80_s.jpg.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1470 to circa. 1500