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Stock# 68425

First published in Augsburg in 1609, Bayer's Uranometria was one of the great celestial atlases of the 17th century, a veritable golden age for start chart production.

This edition was published after the second edition of 1639, and possibly related to the publication of Andreas Celarius's Harmonia Macrocosmica, which was issued in 1660 and 1661.

Of the 51 engraved plates in the atlas, 48 were Ptolemaic constellations.

Each plate has a carefully engraved grid, so that star positions can be read off to fractions of a degree. These positions were taken from the catalog of Tycho Brahe. Brahe's catalog had circulated in manuscript in the 1590s, but was not published until 1602.

Another important feature of the Bayer's atlas was the introduction of a new system of stellar nomenclature. Bayer assigned Greek letters to the brighter stars, generally in the order of magnitude, so that the bright star in the Bull's eye became alpha Tauri (and the brightest star in the Centaur became our familiar alpha Centauri.) These letters were placed on the charts themselves, and also in a table that accompanied each chart. Bayer's charts are rarely offered separately on the market.

Condition Description
Folio. Later full vellum. Engraved title and 51 double-page engraved star charts.
See Norman 142; Deborah Warner, The sky explored: celestial cartography 1500-1800 pp. 18-19; Zinner 3951.