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Mapping The Total Eclipse of 1706

Extremely rare Peter Schenk Eclipse map, published in Amsterdam in 1706.

Includes two unusual models illusrtrating the nature of the eclipse (Memoranda solis Eclipsis totalis . . . ) and a second model illustrating the eclipse of May 3, 1715.

The dotted lines indicate the magnitude of the maximum eclipse, expressed according to a scale ranging from zero (no eclipse) to twelve (sun total eclipsed).

The totality zone ran from the Strait of Gibraltar through Spain, France, Central Europe, Poland, Northern Russia and ended in Siberia.

Schenk's map is based on a similar map designed by Nuremberg astronomer Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr and published in 1707 by Johann Baptist Homann. Petrus Schenk Sr. added a diagram on the left that was derived from another Doppelmayr / Homann map, which also appeared in 1707. He also placed a small world map alongside Iceland with further details about the same solar eclipse calculated by the Amsterdam mathematician Simon van der Moolen.

There are two states of this eclipse map. The first appeared shortly after the Doppelmayr / Homann map was issued by Petrus Schenk Sr. The second state (pictured here) appeared presumably in or shortly before 1715 and was issued by Petrus Schenk Jr. In this case, the image next to Iceland was replaced with an illustration of the solar eclipse of May 3, 1715 according to the calculation of Simon van der Moolen.

The Homann and Schenk maps are not the earliest examples of eclipse cards. The Franco-Italian astronomer Jean-Dominique Cassini published a simple map on the visibility of the solar eclipse of September 23, 1699 in 1700. In 1706, Amsterdam mathematicians Andreas van Lugtenburg and Simon van der Moolen published simple world maps on the visibility of the solar eclipse of May 12 later that year. 

Peter Schenk Biography

Peter Schenk the Elder (1660-1711) moved to Amsterdam in 1675 and began to learn the art of mezzotint. In 1694 he bought some of the copperplate stock of the mapmaker Johannes Janssonius, which allowed him to specialize in the engraving and printing of maps and prints. He split his time between his Amsterdam shop and Leipzig and also sold a considerable volume of materials to London.

Peter Schenk the Elder had three sons. Peter the Younger carried on his father’s business in Leipzig while the other two, Leonard and Jan, worked in Amsterdam. Leonard engraved several maps and also carried on his father’s relationship with engraving plates for the Amsterdam edition of the Histoire de l'Académie Royale des Sciences.