Augsburg: Alexander Mair, 1603. hardcover. Celestial Atlas. 51 double page copperplate engravings of celestial charts. Folio 13" x 10". Rubricated edges. Original full blind stamped vellum with minimal warping. Beautiful title page depicts the figure of Atlas, the first professor of astronomy, and Hercules, the first student on astronomy, on pedestals on either side of the title. Along the top of the page, above the title, several other figures are featured, including Apollo, Earth goddess Cybele and Diana. The figure of Capricorn and a view of the city of Augsburg are featured below the title. The title page is followed by 3 leaves of text. Water stains and toning along the centerfold on many of the plates, marginal worm holes, foxing and many early repairs. An interesting feature about this atlas are the faint brown manuscript markings outlining other constellations appearing on the plates. The Pegasus plate, appears to be added at a later date, and includes Latin text on verso in manuscript, in a format similar to the original text. Text in similar ink also appears on the title page, below the original title, and reads, "Collegy Societatis Jesu Vienna Catalogue...1615", suggesting that this text and plate were added in 1615. The index at the end is also written in manuscript by the same hand. For a complete list of the notations, and flaws contact the gallery. This is Johann Bayer's rare first edition celestial atlas - Uranometria. Published in 1603, it was the first atlas to cover the entire celestial sphere and was published five years prior to the invention of the telescope, which would go on to revolutionize astronomy. When translated from the Greek, Uranometria means '"Measuring Heaven". Published by Alexander Mair, the atlas includes 51 star charts. The first 48 feature the 48 constellations, while the 49th chart includes 12 previously unknown constellations appearing in the southern sky. The last two charts represent the Overview of the Northern Hemisphere and the Overview of the Southern Hemisphere. Bayer's Uranometria was also among the first celestial atlases to show the stars around the South Pole. Based on star positions from Ptolemy's "Almagest" and from Tycho Brahe's catalogue, Bayer's atlas plots over 2000 stars. One of the most popular atlases of the 17th century, given its exquisitely engraved charts, it was the first to label bright stars by Greek letters, a system still used today, and one that would become commonly known as the 'Bayer designation'. Johann Bayer (1572 - 1625) was a German lawyer and astrologer born in Rain, Bavaria. After studying philosophy in 1592, he moved to Augsburg and pursued a career in law. His passion for astronomy lead him to publish the famous 'Uranometria", the most comprehensive pre-telescopic star catalog. He also introduces the "bayer designations' still in use today. He was appointed legal advisor to the city council of Augsburg in 1612. This is the first edition of his seminal work. A rare and important find.
(Inventory #: 266245)
Americana, Art, Autographs, First Editions, Modern First Editions, Maps & Prints, Medicine & Science, Out-of-Print
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