Astronomical Images : An astronomer observing through a telescope

Johannes Hevelius

Astronomical Images

<p style='text-align: justify;'>The <i>Selenographia</i>, literally meaning 'descriptions of the Moon' was published by Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) in 1647. In addition to descriptions of the surface of the Moon, the book also contained other telescopic observations by Hevelius, as well as explanations of instruments. The <i>Selenographia</i> is an unusual publication in the extent to which an author controlled the printed presentation of his work. The book contained observations made by Hevelius at his observatory using instruments (several of which he invented or improved upon), drawn and noted down by himself, then engraved by himself ' several images bear the signature: <i>auctor sculpsit</i> (the author engraved) ' and published at his own expense. This avoided complications and errors that might be introduced during the publication process by other artists and printers. The book itself contains a wide range of representations of the Moon, including a series of the surface of the Moon through its phases. This figure shows an astronomer standing upright, with his left hand on his hips, looking through a telescope set up on a podium. A quadrant is attached to the telescope. The way the instrument was set up meant that the astronomer did not have to be bent over, or use both his hands. Though Hevelius did not explicitly say that the figure depicted here is himself, his contemporaries made that identification.</p>


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