HEVELIUS, Johannes

The Star Atlas. Introduction and edition by V.P. Sheglov.
Tashkent, Fan Press Uzbek SSR, 1968.
pp. XXI, ill., 56 plates.
Atlanti. XX
The atlas by Hevelius, entitled Firmamentum Sobiescianum in honour of Jan Sobieski, King of Poland, was first printed in 1690 and saw a facsimile reprint in 1968, edited by the soviet historian of astronomy V. Sheglov.
Hevelius formed the constellation of Sextans Uraniae in order to celebrate the brass sextant he and his wife used, in his private observatory, to measure the angular distances. It is a small constellation, covering an area of 314 square degrees on the equator, between Leo and Hydra.

Two allegorical engravings are placed at the beginning of the atlas, the first one showing Urania surrounded by the greatest astronomers of the time, such as Ulugh Beg, Copernicus, Ptolemy and Riccioli. In the second engraving Hevelius himself approaches Urania and her court, holding his sextant in one hand and, in the other, Sobieski's shield, which had given name to another constellation.

Jan Hevelius (Danzig 1611-1687) was a student at Leiden University and afterwards dedicated himself to astronomy; he built a private observatory, named Stellaeburgum, that was completely destroyed by a fire in 1679. He was particularly expert in the construction of astronomical instruments, that helped him in a long series of observations of sunspots, and also draw a famous lunar map.

Biblioteca del Dipartimento di Astronomia
Pierluigi Battistini, Laura Peperoni e Marina Zuccoli