Northern Circumpolar Celestial Chart
Johann Elert Bode, c. 1800

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Bode Circumpolar Celestial Chart
detail detail

Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826) (after)
I. Alberti (engraver)
Stereographischer Entwurf des Gestirnten Himmels von Nordpol bis zum 38th Grad sudlicher
from Allgemeirner Grosse Schramlischer Atlass
F.A. Schraembl, Vienna: c. 1800
Hand-colored engraving
24 x 28 inches
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Large graphic Northern circumpolar celestial chart, from central North equatorial pole to 38th degree South, a reissue of Johann Elert Bode's map dated 1787, here published by Schraembl in 1800. It shows constellations in figures according to classical mythology, as well as 18th-century additions created by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille such as The Sculptor's Workshop and The Pneumatic Pump, which was derived from a recent invention by Robert Boyle.

German astronomer Johann Elert Bode was the astronomer of the Academy of Science in Berlin and director of the Berlin Observatory. Uranographia was his most noted contribution to astronomy, contained 18 celestial maps of constellations, stars, and nebulae. Over17,000 stars (12,000 more than had appeared in earlier charts), 2,500 nebulae (which had been catalogued in the late 1700s by William Herschel), and the constellations delineated over the past three centuries were depicted with attention to accuracy. He also included original constellation designs based on scientific instruments, including a tribute to Herschel called Herschel's Telescope, as well as reinterpretations of the traditional constellations that diverged from conventional depictions. After Bode, major celestial atlases became less artistic and more utilitarian, dispensing with pictorial representations of constellation figures and replacing them with lines that defined their boundaries. Bode is also known for devising a formula to express the relative distances of the planets in our solar system from the sun, which is known as Bode's Law.


"Johann Elert Bode." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. New York: Columbia University Press: 2001 (27 June 2002).

Warner, p. 37