The Atlas Coelestis (1742) of Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr


Introduction

Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr (also spelled Doppelmair, Doppelmaier or Doppelmayer) was the son of the Nuremberg merchant Johann Siegmund Doppelmayr (1641-1686) and was born on 27 September 1677 (many early sources incorrectly give his year of birth as 1671). His father had an interest in applied physics and was one of the first to design a vertical vacuum air pump in Nuremberg.

Doppelmayr enrolled at the Ägidiengymnasium in 1689 and after completing his studies in 1696 enrolled at the nearby university of Altdorf to study law which he completed in 1698 with a dissertation on the Sun. He then attended lectures on mathematics and natural philosophy by Johann Christoph Sturm (1635-1703) which he completed in 1699 with his dissertation De visionis sensu nobilissimo, ex camerae obscurae tenebris illustrato. He continued his studies on physics and mathematics at the university of Halle where he also learned French and Italian.

In September 1700, Doppelmayr travelled to Berlin and from there, through Lower Saxony, to Holland where he visited Franeker and Amsterdam on his way to Utrecht where he stayed for a couple of months to continue his studies on physics and mathematics and to master the English language.

In April 1701, Doppelmayr went to Leiden where he stayed in the house of the astronomy professor Lothar Zumbach von Koesfeld and learned (probably in the Musschenbroek workshop) how to grind and figure telescope lenses. He then travelled to Rotterdam and in May to England where he visited Oxford and London.

After returning to Holland in the end of 1701, Doppelmayr spent another five months in Leiden, where he followed astronomy lessons from Lothar Zumbach von Koesfeld. After visiting Utrecht, Deventer, Osnabrück, Hannover, Kassel, Marburg, Gießen, Wetzlar and Frankfurt, Doppelmayr returned to Nuremberg in August 1702 and was appointed professor of mathematics at the Ägidiengymnasium in 1704, a position that he would hold until his death.

In February 1716, Doppelmayr married Susanna Maria Kellner (1697-1728) with whom he had four children (three of which died shortly after their birth).

In 1723, he received an invitation to become the professor of mechanics at the Academy of St. Petersburg, but Doppelmayr declined and suggested that they should ask the Swiss mathematician Nikolaus Bernouilli for this position.

Doppelmayr wrote on astronomy, geography, cartography, spherical trigonometry, sundials and mathematical instruments. He often collaborated with the cartographer Johann Baptist Homann (1664-1724), a former Dominican monk from Oberkammlach in Schwabia who in 1688 had settled in Nuremberg and became a map engraver for the publishing firms of Jacob von Sandrart and David Funck. In 1702, Homann founded an influential cartographic publishing firm that after his death was continued by his son Johann Christoph Homann (1703-1730) and after the latter’s death by his friend Johann Michael Franz (1700-1761) and his stepsister’s husband Johann Georg Ebersberger (1695-1760) under the name “Homännische Erben”. The publishing firm remained in business under different names until 1848.

Among Doppelmayr’s many students was Georg Friedrich Brander (1713-1783) from Regensburg, who settled in Augsburg in 1734 and in 1737 founded a renowned workshop for scientific instruments.

Doppelmayr was elected as a member of several scientific societies, including the Berlin Academy of Sciences, the Kaiserlich Leopoldinische Akademie der Naturforscher in Halle (1715), the Royal Society of London (on 6 December 1733, not in 1713 as mentioned in several sources) and the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1740).

Doppelmayr died on 1 December 1750 in Nuremberg, and many later sources claim that his death was caused by the fatal effects of a powerful electrical shock which he had received shortly before while experimenting with a battery of electric capacitors. Other sources, however, suggest that Doppelmayr’s electrical experiments were performed several years earlier and were not the cause of his death.

The lunar crater Doppelmayer (latitude 28.5° south and longitude 41.4° west), the nearby rille Rimae Doppelmayer (latitude 25.9° south and longitude 45.1° west) and the minor planet 12622 Doppelmayr are named in his honour.

Doppelmayr’s astronomical publications

Doppelmayr was responsible for the edition and translation of several important works in astronomy, geography and scientific instrument making.

Together with Johann Georg Puschner (1680-1749), a Nuremberg instrument maker and copper engraver, Doppelmayr published terrestrial and celestial globe pairs in 1728 (32 cm diameter), 1730 (20 cm diameter) and 1736 (10 cm diameter). The celestial globes were drawn for the epoch 1731.0, the same epoch which he used for the celestial charts in the Atlas Coelestis (plates 16-25).

These globes were re-issued in the 1750’s by Puschner’s son and, again, in the 1790’s, when the copper plates passed into the hands of the Nuremberg publisher Wolfgang Paul Jenig (1743-1805). Although the terrestrial globes were updated in these later re-issues, the celestial globes were left unchanged.

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The Atlas Coelestis

Doppelmayr’s best-known astronomical work is his Atlas Coelestis in quo Mundus Spectabilis et in eodem Stellarum omnium Phoenomena notabilia, circa ipsarum Lumen, Figuram, Faciem, Motum, Eclipses, Occultationes, Transitus, Magnitudines, Distantias, aliaque secundum Nic. Copernici et ex parte Tychonis de Brahe Hipothesin. Nostri intuitu, specialiter, respectu vero ad apparentias planetarum indagatu possibiles e planetis primariis, et e luna habito, generaliter e celeberrimorum astronomorum observationibus graphice descripta exhibentur, cum tabulis majoribus XXX, published in 1742 by the heirs of Homann in Nuremberg.

In this atlas, Doppelmayr collected most of the astronomical and cosmographical plates which he had prepared over the years for the Homann publishing firm and which had appeared in several of their atlases. These earlier atlases allow us to infer approximate dates for the design and preparation of many of Doppelmayr’s cosmographical plates.

The earliest ones are plates 2 and 11 as they were already included in Homann’s first atlas, the Neuer Atlas bestehend in auserlesenen und allerneusten Land-Charten ueber die gantze Welt, und zwar erstlich nach Astronomischer Betrachtung der Bewegung des Himmels in dem Systemate Copernico-Hugeniano, dann auch nach der näturlichen Beschaffenheit und geographischen Eintheilung der mit Wasser umgebenen allgemeinen Erd-Kugeln in ihre besondere Monarchien, Koenigreiche, Staaten und Laender (Nuremberg, 1707).

Plates 3 and 7 to 10 were first published in Homann’s Atlas von hundert Charten (Nuremberg, 1712), whereas plates 1, 4 and 15 to 25 can be dated between 1716 and 1724 as they were not included in Homann’s Grossen Atlas (Nuremberg, 1716), but are mentioned in Hager’s list of plates sold by Homann at his death in 1724.

The plates depicting the constellations (nrs. 16 to 25) were probably prepared and engraved in the early 1720’s as the Atlas Portatilis Coelestis, oder compendiose Vorstellung des gantzen Welt-gebäudes, in den Anfangs-grunden der wahren Astronomie (1723) of Johann Leonard Rost refers to a set of celestial hemispheres drawn by Doppelmayr. The choice and the style of the constellation figures on these plates is based on the Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia (Danzig, 1687) of the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, who also avoided the use of Bayer’s Greek letters for identifying the individual stars, and they were clearly executed before the publication of John Flamsteed’s star catalogue (London, 1725) and star atlas (London, 1729).

According to Sandler (1890), the other plates (nrs. 6, 12 to 14 and 26 to 30) date from after 1735. The cometary plates (nrs. 26 to 28) can be dated to 1740 or slightly later.

 

Description of the plates of the Atlas Coelestis (1742)

The following table gives a summary description of the cosmographical plates of the Atlas Coelestis.

   
Plate 1   Plate 2   Plate 3
   
Plate 4   Plate 5   Plate 6
   
Plate 7   Plate 8   Plate 9
   
Plate 10   Plate 11   Plate 12
   
Plate 13   Plate 14   Plate 15
   
Plate 16   Plate 17   Plate 18
   
Plate 19   Plate 20   Plate 21
   
Plate 22   Plate 23   Plate 24
   
Plate 25   Plate 26   Plate 27
   
Plate 28   Plate 29   Plate 30
  1. SPHÆRA MUNDI Per circulos tam primarios quam secundarios cum punctis lineis et angulis notabilioribus in triplici respectu Horizontis situ pro motu stellarum primo aliisque harum Phænomenis in genere tradendis, exhibita – Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  2. SYSTEMA SOLARE ET PLANETARIVM ex hypothesi Copernicana secundum elegantissimas Illustrissimi quondam Hugenii deductiones novissime collectum & exhibitum – The solar system and its dimensions according to the Cosmotheoros of Christiaan Huygens. The insets show the sizes of the planets compared with the Sun, the Copernican and Tychonic arrangement of the planets and the path of the solar eclipse of 12 May 1706 across Europe and Northern Asia. This plate was first published in Homann’s Neuer Atlas (1707) and reprinted in his Atlas von hundert Charten (1712) and his Grossen Atlas (1716).
  3. SYSTEMA MUNDI TYCHONICUM Secundum celeberrimorum Astronomorum TYCHONIS DE BRAHE et IO. BAPTISTÆ RICCIOLI S.I. Hypotheses concinnatum – This plate was first published in Homann’s Atlas von hundert Charten (1712) and reprinted in his Grossen Atlas (1716).
  4. THEORIA PLANETARUM PRIMARIORUM In qua ipsorum motus in Copernicano Systemate tam ex Kepleri et recentiorum Astronomorum quam aliorum, ut Sethi Wardi, Ismaelis Bullialdi et Nicolai Mercatoris Hypothesin Ellipticis demonstrantur, exhibente – Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  5. PHÆNOMENA IN PLANETIS PRIMARIIS Quæ facies diversas, ex illorum phasibus, maculis et fasciis seu zonis ortas sistunt, exhibita – Explanation of the phases of the planets as seen from the Earth, the aspects of Saturn’s ring and the markings on the planets observed by Galileo Galilei, Christoph Scheiner, Franciscus Fontana, Christiaan Huygens, Robert Hooke, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Jacques-Philippe Maraldi, ?. Hadley and Francesco Bianchini. Engraved 17??.
  6. PHÆNOMENA circa quantitatem dierum artificialium et solarium perpetuo mutabilem, ex Hypothesi copernicana deducta, cum aliis tam Veterum quam recentiorum Philosophorum, Systematibus mundi notabilioribus, exhibita – Engraved between 1735 and 1742.
  7. PHÆNOMENA MOTVVM IRREGVLARIVM quos Planetæ inferiores VENVS et MERCVRIVS ad annum Salutis MDCCX. Directionibus, Stationibus et Retrogradationibus fuis È TERRA spectandos præbent, exemplo singulorum Periodi pro Hypotheseos Copernic firmamento Geometricè demonstrata – The heliocentric motions of the inferior planets Mercury and Venus during the year 1710 with two diagrams depicting the transit of Mercury across the Sun on 5 November 1710 and the (predicted) transit of Venus across the Sun on 6 June 1761. This plate was first published in Homann’s Atlas von hundert Charten (1712) and reprinted in his Grossen Atlas (1716).
  8. EPHEMERIDES MOTUUM COELESTIUM GEOMETRICÆ In quibus secundum Hypothesin Copernicanam omnia Motuum Planetariorum irregularium Phænomena h.e. Directiones, Stationes et Retrogradationes præcipue ad añ. Chr. 1708 et 1709, ut et eorum causæ curiose ad oculum demonstrãtur – The inset at the bottom gives the scale of the solar system compared with the Hugenian estimate of the distance between the Sun and Sirius. This plate was first published in Homann’s Atlas von hundert Charten (1712) and reprinted in his Grossen Atlas (1716).
  9. MOTUS IN COELO SPIRALES Quos Planetæ inferiores VENUS et MERCURIUS secundum Tychonicorum Hypothesin exhibent, pro exemplo ad annum Christi præcipue 1712 et 1713 – Geocentric motion of the inner planets Mercury and Venus according to the Tychonic hypothesis for the years 1712 and 1713. This plate was first published in Homann’s Atlas von hundert Charten (1712) and reprinted in his Grossen Atlas (1716).
  10. MOTVS PLANETARVM SVPERIORVM qui secundum TYCHONIS Hypothesin singulis fuis periodis per lineas spirales contingunt, exempli loco in primo Seculi XVIII triente geometricè exhibiti – The geocentric motion of the outer planets Mars (in 1712 & 1713), Jupiter (1708 to 1719) and Saturn (1701 to 1730) according to the Tychonic hypothesis. This plate was first published in Homann’s Atlas von hundert Charten (1712) and reprinted in his Grossen Atlas (1716).
  11. TABULA SELENOGRAPHICA in qua Lunarium Macularum exacta Descriptio secundum Nomenclaturam Præstantissimorum Astronomorum tam HEVELII quam RICCIOLI Curiosis Rei Sidereæ Cultoribus exhibentur – Lunar maps according to Johannes Hevelius (left) and Giovanni Baptista Riccioli (right). This plate was first published in Homann’s Neuer Atlas (1707) and reprinted in his Atlas von hundert Charten (1712) and in his Grossen Atlas (1716).
  12. THEORIA LVNÆ in qua motus ejusdem anomalus ex Hypothesi ill. Isaaci Newtoni, ut et Tychonicâ et Horroccianâ, porro illius motus cycloidalis et libratorius cum aliis Phænomenis ad Lunan spectantibus sistuntur – Engraved between 1735 and 1742.
  13. THEORIA ECLIPSIVM in qua variæ Solis occultationes, obscurationes Terræ et Lunæ veræ, stellorum occultationes a Luna, aliiq. Phænomena huc spectantia sistuntur – Includes a map depicting the path of the solar eclipse of 12 May 1706 across Europe and Northern Asia. Engraved between 1735 and 1742.
  14. THEORIA SATELLITUM IOVIS ET SATURNI in qua præcipua horum planetarum secundariorum Phænomena geometrica designatione sistuntur – The satellite systems of Jupiter and Saturn compared with the Earth-Moon system according to the observations of Giovanni Domenico Cassini in Bologna in 1661. Engraved between 1735 and 1742.
  15. BASIS GEOGRAPHIÆ RECENTIORIS ASTRONOMICA in qua situs locorum insigniorum geographici ea exactitudine, qua celeberrimi Astronomi eosdem per observationes è plurimis luminarium et circumjovialium Eclipsibus nobis hactenus suppeditarunt pro certiori Geographiæ stabilimento positi designantur – World map in a stereographic projection based on the astronomically determined co-ordinates of 142 towns and cities deduced from observations of luni-solar eclipses and eclipses of the Jovian satellites. The longitudes are measured with respect to the island Ferro (El Hierro in the Canary Islands), assumed to lie exactly 22° 30' West of the Paris Observatory. Engraved between 1720 and 1722.
  16. HEMISPHÆRIVM COELI BOREALE in quo loca Stellarum fixarum secundum Æquatorem, per Ascensiones nempe rectas et Declinationes ad annum Christi 1730 completum sistuntur – Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  17. HEMISPHÆRIVM COELI AUSTRALE in quo loca Stellarum fixarum secundum Æquatorem, per Ascensiones nempe rectas et Declinationes ad anûm Christi 1730 completû sistuntur – Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  18. HEMISPHÆRIUM COELI BOREALE in quo Fixarum loca secundum Eclipticæ ductum ad añum 1730 completum exhibentur – Constellations of the northern hemisphere for the epoch 1731.0 after the catalogue of Johannes Hevelius. In the corners the observatories of Tycho Brahe on Hven (founded in 1576), Paris (1667), Johannes Hevelius in Danzig (c. 1650) and Georg Christoph Einmart in Nuremberg (1678). Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  19. HEMISPHÆRIUM COELI AUSTRALE in quo Fixarum loca secundum Eclipticæ ductum ad añum 1730. completum exhibentur – Constellations of the southern hemisphere for the epoch 1731.0 after the catalogues of Johannes Hevelius and Edmund Halley. In the corners the observatories of Greenwich (founded in 1666), Copenhagen (1642), Kassel (1714) and Berlin (1711). Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  20. GLOBI COELESTIS IN TABULAS PLANAS REDACTI PARS I in qua Longitudines Stellarum fixarum ad añum Christi completum 1730 tam Arithmeticè quam Geometrice exhibentur – Internal view of the northern hemisphere centred on the northern equatorial pole in a gnomonic projection down to the declination 45° North. Also depicted are the paths of the comets C/1590 E1 (observed by Tycho Brahe), C/1618 W1 (Johannes Kepler), C/1652 Y1 (Johannes Hevelius), 1P/1682 Q1 [Halley’s Comet] (Johannes Hevelius), C/1683 O1 (Johannes Hevelius) and C/1699 D1 (Giovanni Domenico Cassini). The comet of 1692 (observed by Philippe de la Hire) does not seem to be mentioned in modern cometographies. Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  21. GLOBI COELESTIS IN TABULAS PLANAS REDACTI PARS II in qua Longitudines Stellarum fixarum ad añum Christi completum 1730 tam Arithmeticè quam Geometrice exhibentur – Internal view of the sky centred on the vernal equinox in a gnomonic projection between the declinations 45° North and 45° South. Also depicted are the paths of the comets C/1577 V1 (observed by Tycho Brahe), C/1585 T1 (Tycho Brahe), C/1590 E1 (Tycho Brahe), C/1664 W1 (Giovanni Domenico Cassini), C/1665 F1 (Johannes Hevelius), C/1672 E1 (Giovanni Domenico Cassini), C/1677 H1 (Johannes Hevelius), C/1680 V1 (John Flamsteed) and C/1683 O1 (Johannes Hevelius). Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  22. GLOBI COELESTIS IN TABULAS PLANAS REDACTI PARS III in qua Longitudines Stellarum fixarum ad añum Christi completum 1730 tam Arithmetice quam Geometrice exhibentur – Internal view of the sky centred on the equator below the summer solstice in a gnomonic projection between the declinations 45° North and 45° South. Also depicted are the paths of the comets C/1652 Y1 (observed by Johannes Hevelius), C/1664 W1 (Johannes Hevelius), C/1672 E1 (Giovanni Domenico Cassini), C/1683 O1 (Johannes Hevelius) and C/1699 D1 (Giovanni Domenico Cassini). Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  23. GLOBI COELESTIS IN TABULAS PLANAS REDACTI PARS IV in qua Longitudines Stellarum fixarum ad añum Christi completum 1730 tam Arithmeticè quam Geometrice exhibentur – Internal view of the sky centred on the autumnal equinox in a gnomonic projection between the declinations 45° North and 45° South. Also depicted are the paths of the comets C/1618 W1 (observed by Johannes Kepler), C/1664 W1 (Johannes Hevelius), 1P/1682 Q1 [Halley’s Comet] (Johannes Hevelius), C/1684 N1 (Francesco Bianchini) and C/1706 F1 (Giovanni Domenico Cassini). Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  24. GLOBI COELESTIS IN TABULAS PLANAS REDACTI PARS V in qua Longitudines Stellarum fixarum ad añum Christi completum 1730 tam Arithmetice quam Geometrice exhibentur – Internal view of the sky centred on the equator above the winter solstice in a gnomonic projection between the declinations 45° North and 45° South. Also depicted are the paths of the comets C/1577 V1 (observed by Tycho Brahe), 1P/1607 S1 [Halley’s Comet] (Johannes Kepler), C/1661 C1 (Johannes Hevelius), C/1680 V1 (John Flamsteed), C/1702 H1 (Philippe de la Hire) and C/1707 W1 (Giovanni Domenico Cassini). The comet of 1692 (observed by Philippe de la Hire) does not seem to be mentioned in modern cometographies. Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  25. GLOBI COELESTIS IN TABULAS PLANAS REDACTI PARS VI in qua Longitudines Stellarum fixarum ad añum Christi completum 1730 tam Arithmeticè quam Geometrice exhibentur – Internal view of the southern hemisphere centred on the southern equatorial pole in a gnomonic projection up to the declination 45° South. Includes a precession table for the interval 1700 to 1760. Engraved between 1716 and 1724.
  26. THEORIA COMETARVM in qua præcipua eorum Phænomena ex recentiorum Astronomorum Observationibus secundum ill. Newtoni et cel. Whistoni Hypothesin geometrice deducta cum aliis exhibentur – Discusses the cometary theories of Johannes Kepler, Johannes Hevelius, Pierre Petit, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Edmund Halley, Isaac Newton and William Whiston. Insets with telescopic views of the Great Orion Nebula (M 42) by Christiaan Huygens (1659) and Jean Picard (1673). Engraved between 1740 and 1742.
  27. MOTVS COMETARUM IN HEMISPHÆRIO BOREALI qui intra 210 años ab añ 1530 usque ad añ: 1740, cum sex stellis novis per hoc tempus visis, à præstantissimus Astronomis observati – Paths of 38 comets, observed between 1530 and 1740, and six ‘new stars’ plotted in the northern celestial sphere. The ‘new stars’ are those of 1572 (Tycho Brahe’s supernova in Cassiopeia), 1600 (discovery of the variable star P Cygni by Willem Janszoon Blaeu), 1604 (Johannes Kepler’s supernova in Ophiuchus), 1612 (discovery of the Andromeda Nebula by Simon Marius), 1670 (observations of the variable star CK Vulpecula by Dom Anthlehem and Johannes Hevelius) and 1686 (discovery of the variable star χ Cygni by Gottfried Kirch). Insets on the parallax of Polaris and on the form and the visibility of the zodiacal light. Engraved between 1740 and 1742.
  28. MOTVS COMETARUM IN HEMISPHÆRIO AUSTRALI qui intra añum 1530 et 1740 cum duabus stellis novis, nostro tempore visis, à celeberrimis Astronomis observati, geometrice nunc descripti – Idem as above, with insets on planetary and stellar parallax. The ‘new stars’ are those of 1596 (discovery of the variable star Mira by David Fabritius) and 1704 (discovery of the variable star R Hydrae by Jacques-Philippe Maraldi). Engraved between 1740 and 1742.
  29. ASTRONOMIA COMPARATIVA in qua præcipua Planetarum phænomena ex Observationibus deducta, è Sole, Mercurio, Venere et Luna exhibentur – Engraved between 1735 and 1742.
  30. ASTRONOMIA COMPARATIVA in qua Planetarum primaria Phænomena, ad motum spectantia, è Planetis nostri respectu, Marte, Iove et Saturno sistuntur – The synodic periods of the outer planets as observed from the Earth and other planets. Insets depicting the Tychonic planetary scheme and the angular size of the Sun as seen from the planets. Engraved between 1735 and 1742.

The entire Doppelmayr atlas and the individual plates can also be viewed in detail on the Gallica web site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Plates included in later editions of the Atlas Coelestis

Later editions of the Doppelmayr atlas by the same publisher bear the slightly altered title Atlas novus coelestis, in quo mundus spectabilis, et in eodem tam errantium quam inerrantium stellarum phoenomena notabilia [...] secundum Nic. Copernici et ex parte Tychonis de Brahe hypothesin, nostri intuitu, specialiter, respectu vero ad apparentias planetarum indagatu possibiles e planetis primariis et e luna habito, generaliter, e celeberrimorum astronomorum observationibus graphice descripta exhibentur. Although the year of publication is still given as 1742 on the title page, these editions often contain additional plates of later date.

The following additional plates are known:

   
Add 1   Add 2   Add 3
    Image not yet available
Add 4   Add 5   Add 6

References

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I gratefully acknowledge the help of Hans Gaab (Nuremberg), George Glazer (New York) and Markus Heinz (Berlin) for providing useful information and images.


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