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Doppelmayr’s Celestial Atlas

With a Foreword by Martin Rees
Lavishly illustrated volume revealing the intricacies of a 1742 map of the cosmos.
The expansive and intricate Atlas Coelestis, created by Johann Doppelmayr in 1742, set out to record everything known about astronomy at the time, covering constellations, planets, moons, comets, and more, all rendered in exquisite detail. Through stunning illustrations, historical notes, and scientific explanations, Phenomena contextualizes Doppelmayr’s atlas and creates a spectacular handbook to the heavens.
Phenomena begins by introducing Doppelmayr’s life and work, placing his extraordinary cosmic atlas in the context of discoveries made in the Renaissance and Enlightenment and highlighting the significance of its publication. This oversized book presents thirty beautifully illustrated and richly annotated plates, covering all the fundamentals of astronomy—from the dimensions of the solar system to the phases of the moon and the courses of comets. Each plate is accompanied by expert analysis from astronomer Giles Sparrow, who deftly presents Doppelmayr’s references and cosmological work to a modern audience. Each plate is carefully deconstructed, isolating key stars, planets, orbits, and moons for in-depth exploration. A conclusion reflects on the development of astronomy since the publication of the Atlas and traces the course of the science up to the present day. Following the conclusion is a timeline of key discoveries from ancient times onward along with short biographies of the key players in this history.  

256 pages | 600 color plates | 10 1/2 x 14.375 | © 2022

History of Science

Physical Sciences: Astronomy and Astrophysics, History and Philosophy of Physical Sciences


"Mathematician, astronomer and cartographer Johann Doppelmayr created his largely forgotten celestial atlas in Germany in 1742. This magnificent book showcases its illustrations, with formidable explanatory text by astronomer Giles Sparrow and foreword by UK astronomer royal Martin Rees."


"It seems something of a disservice to a work of this seriousness to say how beautiful it is, but that is what will first strike the reader. . . . This is a book ultimately as accessible to the non-scientist as it is to the specialist. Doppelmayr’s mathematical notations of the motions of the planets, the charts of loops, parabolas and ellipses might at first seem a baffling panorama of unknowing. With Sparrow’s help, however, they give up a story of increasing fascination."


"Lovers of antiquarian science will
welcome the publication of this meticulously crafted edition of Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr’s Celestial Atlas, first printed in 1742. . . Bound in heavy boards with handsome marbled end papers, this is a book of enduring appeal."

Natural History

"In his new book Phenomena, Giles Sparrow presents Doppelmayr’s thirty Atlas Coelestis plates in vivid, large format reproductions that are then extensively annotated to provide the modern reader with an understanding of not only what the Atlas conveyed to the readers of its day but also the significance of this information understood from our own modern day perspective. . . For anyone interested in the history of astronomy, cartography, or of early modern science in general, as well as all who relish the opportunity to spend time with a truly gorgeous book, this new presentation of Doppelmayr’s Atlas is a book well worthy of consideration."

The Well-read Naturalist

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Martin Rees
Introduction: Doppelmayr & His World
The Atlas Coelestis.
Prelude. Before Copernicus.
Plate 1. The Sphere of the Earth / Sphæra Mundi
Plate 2. System of the Sun and Planets / Systema Solare et Planetarium
Plate 3. The Tychonic System of the Universe / Systema Mundi Tychonicum
Plate 4. Theory of the Primary Planets / Theoria Planetarum Primariorum
Plate 5. Phenomena of the Primary Planets / Phænomena in Planetis Primariis
Plate 6. Phenomena / Phænomena
Plate 7. The Phenomena of Irregular Motion / Phænomena Motuum Irregularium
Plate 8. Ephemerides of Geometric Celestial Motion / Ephemerides Motuum Coelestium Geometricæ
Plate 9. Spiral Motions in the Heavens / Motus in Coelo Spirales
Plate 10. Motion of the Superior Planets / Motus Planetarum Superiorum
Plate 11. Selenographic Table / Tabula Selenographica
Plate 12. Lunar Theories / Theoria Lunæ
Plate 13. Theory of Eclipses / Theoria Eclipsium
Plate 14. Theory of the Satellites of Jupiter and Saturn / Theoria Satellitum Iovis et Saturni
Plate 15. Astronomical Basis of Modern Geography / Basis Geographiæ Recentioris Astronomica
Plate 16. The Northern Hemisphere of the Heavens / Hemisphærium Coeli Boreale
Plate 17. The Southern Hemisphere of the Heavens / Hemisphærium Coeli Australe
Plate 18. The Northern Hemisphere of the Heavens, Determined in Relation
to the Ecliptic / Hemisphærium Coeli Boreale
Plate 19. The Southern Hemisphere of the Heavens, Determined in Relation to the Ecliptic / Hemisphærium Coeli Australe
Plates 20–25. The Celestial Globe Rendered as Planes, Parts I–VI / Globi Coelestis in Tabulas planas redacti Pars I–VI.
Plate 26. Theory of Comets / Theoria Cometarum
Plate 27. Movements of Comets in the Sky’s Northern Hemisphere / Motus Cometarum in Hemisphærio Boreali
Plate 28. Movements of Comets in the Sky’s Southern Hemisphere / Motus Cometarum in Hemisphærio Australi
Plates 29–30. Comparative Astronomy, Parts I–II / Astronomia Comparativa
Legacy: The Pathway to Modern Astronomy
Milestones of Astronomy
Dramatis Personæ
Further Reading
Sources of Illustrations

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