Talk:Martian canal

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I always understood that the Italian word "canali" was misinterpreted as canals. Canali could mean canal (as in manmade river) or just channel (witch could be naturally formed). Schiaparelli meant the lather, I thought. Perhaps something to look up...

- Het_genie


This article repeatedly mentions "opposition" (E.G. the "opposition of 1874"). Please explain what this is supposed to mean in this context on first use, because it is quite unclear at present.

--IRelayer 17:01, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Very briefly, it means that the planet is on the opposite point from the Sun in the sky, which means it's both at its closest distance to Earth and visible most clearly to earthbound observers. But surely the link to opposition (astronomy) should be enough to fill in those not familiar with the term? Orcoteuthis (talk) 11:16, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

indeed, i didn't know what opposition was, so i clicked on the link. i think we can call this matter closed - Shadowsill (talk) 15:59, 6 June 2008 (UTC)


It would helpful if someone would describe the nature of this "optical illusion" that causes people to see non-existant canals. Drutt 12:38, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

good call, added a bit.. sbandrews 13:51, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
It's still missing any substantial information on this subject, which is crucial to the entire piece. If the illusion is not detailed, why are we accepting the explanation as true? Also, as usual for Wikipedia, this article is lacking sufficient inline citations. (talk) 18:16, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

germination -> gemination[edit]

I've done little editing, so I'm reluctant to make this change.

The article has

'Some observers saw a phenomenon they called "germination", or doubling — two parallel canals.'

I was just reading Scientific American's reprint of their review of a Percival Lowell book: It includes

'It appears that in some cases certainly, and possibly in all, the dual aspect is not a temporary condition, but a permanent state marked with varying intensity, the fact of "gemination," so called, being confined to a filling out of what is always there in skeleton. '

"Germinate" is from Latin "germen", meaning 'seed' ( "Geminate", "1. To double. 2. To arrange in pairs" is from Latin "geminus", meaning 'twin' ( E.g., Gemini, the constellation of the Twins. "Geminate" is obviously far more appropriate for a phenomenon of doubling in particular.

I could change "germinate" to "geminate", but I don't know how to cite the Scientific American article in a Wikipedia article.

-- Tim McDaniel, (don't have my Wikipedia login info with me)

Valles Marineris[edit]

Mars Valles Marineris.jpeg

Modern science recognizes one very prominent linear feature on Mars, Valles Marineris. If any of the canal observations were rooted in reality, then maps of the canals should match up with at least this one feature. Since maps were drawn at a known date and time, the real and imagined maps should actually be possible to compare directly, with precise latitudes and longitudes, if someone has the skill and patience to work out the astronomy. Is anyone up to the challenge? Thanks! 03:16, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Many of the largest geographic features on Mars are entirely unremarkable in telescopic views with the eye. Remember that images, such as the one you posted, are produced with substantial contrast enhancement of images taken through appropriate filters. While your idea definitely has merit, I don't suspect any observer (in the past or present) would remark on Valles Marineris, Olympus Mons, or any of the other giant canyon or volcanoes of Mars. For example, see for albedo markings recorded by eye and by digital camera. "Olympus Mons" (marked by its old name "Nix Olympica") and Valles Marineris are practically invisible since the whole Tharsis region is covered in deep, uniformly bright dust. (talk) 20:40, 27 February 2009 (UTC)


I believe that he and others, escpecially the others, using their eyes and equipment at the limit of their power, simply experienced a case of wishful thinking delusion. However, it may be that Schiaparelli and some others actually saw a faint reflection of their own capillaries in their own eyes which are organized in a way that resembles the canal drawings. This is something that actually has happened to me when I use certain makes of binoculars. Unfortunately, I do not know of a name of the phenomenon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:28, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Sky and Telescope carried such an article: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:03, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Cause of Illusion[edit]

I discovered on the internet that the reason for the illusion of the canals was that the telescope Giovanni was using had a flaw in it causing the illusions of canals. Wizard 109109 (talk) 14:17, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Can you give the link to the page you found that information on, please? I could use that for an essay I'm writing. If you don't know the url, can you maybe just tell me the search engine and the search terms you used? Thanks! Sudosane (talk) 22:02, 10 February 2009 (UTC)


Many researchers still support the idea that there are canals on Mars. Although this view is not accepted by mainstream science, their views should be shown and documented along with the historical debate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:35, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Please provide more information. Are they actually researchers or amateur astronomers? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:59, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Lowell Photos?[edit]

In the 1911 Britannica article on Mars Percival Lowell is quoted as saying his photographs of Mars show the canals quite clearly. Did these photos ever exist? Any chance of locating them to see what he saw? Or did he just claim photos had been taken? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

In Mars as the Abode of Life (1908) Lowell says that the canals are visible on photos taken by a Mr C. O. Lampland at Lowell Observatory in 1905. Unfortunately no reference is made to any published account of them, but maybe it'll help someone track them down. Orcoteuthis (talk) 09:14, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

I think S. M. Stirling's In the Courts of the Crimson Kings should be added to the example in popular culture section[edit]

how do I go about doing that so it doesn’t get removed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments - adding a citation from a reliable source would be helpful of course - please see WP:CITE and WP:RS for more details - thanks again for your comment - and - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 03:36, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
A citation to prove what? both S. M. Stirling and In the Courts of the Crimson Kings have their own Wikipedia pages, there's no question that the novel it exists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:57, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I *entirely* agree and have removed the "citation needed" template in the article - thanks again for your comments - and - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 14:49, 29 January 2014 (UTC)