Star cartography

Star cartography

Star cartography, stellar cartography, celestial cartography, or uranography (Koine Greek ουρανος [IPA: IPA|uːra'nos] , "sky, heaven" + γραφειν [IPA: IPA|gra'pʰiːn] "write") is the branch of astronomy concerned with mapping the stars, galaxies, and a multitude of other celestial bodies. Positioning and measuring the light of charted objects requires a multitude of instruments, that have developed from bare-eye angle measurements with quadrants, later lenses for light magnification have been combined into sextants, and in the current age, computer automated space telescopes have been measuring up accurate star positions. Uranographers have historically produced planetary position tables, star tables and star maps fit for amateur and professional observations, nowadays computerized star maps, and automated positioning of telescopes are routinely using huge databases of stars and other astronomical objects.


Star catalogues

A determining fact source for drawing star charts are naturally star tables. This is apparent when comparing the imaginative "star maps" of Poeticon Astronomicon – illustrations beside a narrative text from the antiquity – to the star maps of Johann Bayer based on precise star position measurements from the Rudolphine Tables by Tycho Brahe.

Important historical star tables

* c:a 150, Almagest - contains the last known star table from the antiquity, prepared by Ptolemy, 1,028 stars,
* 1627, Rudolphine Tables - contains the first West Enlightenment star table, based on measurements of Tycho Brahe, 1,005 stars,
* 1690, Prodromus Astronomiae - by Johannes Hevelius for his Firmamentum Sobiescanum, 1,564 stars,
* Britannic Catalogue - by John Flamsteed for his Atlas Coelestis, position of more than 3,000 stars by accuracy of 10".
* 1903, Bonner Durchmusterung - by Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander and collaborators, c:a 460,000 stars,

Star atlases

Naked eye atlases

* c:a 0 CE ?? Poeticon astronomicon, allegedly by Gaius Julius Hyginus,
* 1092 - "Xin Yi Xiang Fa Yao" (新儀 象法要), by Su Song, a horological treatise which had the earliest existent star maps in printed form, which featured cylindrical projection similar to Mercator projection, the latter devised in Europe by Gerardus Mercator's in 1569. Su's star maps also featured the corrected position of the pole star which had been deciphered due to the efforts of astronomical observations by Su's peer, the polymath scientist Shen Kuo.
* 1603 - "Uranometria", by Johann Bayer, the first western modern star map based on Tycho Brahe's and Johannes Kepler's "Tabulae Rudolphinae",
* 1627, Julius Schiller published the star atlas "Coelum Stellatum Christianum" which replaced pagan constellations with biblical and early Christian figures.
* 1660 - Jan Janssonius' Atlas Maior's eleventh volume featured the "Harmonia Macrocosmica" by Andreas Cellarius
* 1693 - "Firmamentum Sobiescanum sive Uranometria", by Johannes Hevelius, a star map updated with many new star positions based on Hevelius'es "Prodromus astronomiae" (1690) – 1564 stars,

Telescopic atlases

* 1729 "Atlas Coelestis" by John Flamsteed,
* 1801 "Uranographia" by Johann Elert Bode,
* 1843 "Uranometria Nova" by Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander,

Photographic atlases

* 1914 "Franklin-Adams Charts", by John Franklin-Adams a very early photographic atlas,
* The Falkau Atlas (Hans Vehrenberg). Stars to magnitude 13.
* Atlas Stellarum (Hans Vehrenberg). Stars to magnitude 14.
* True Visual Magnitude Photographic Star Atlas (Christos Papadopoulos). Stars to magnitude 13.5

Modern star atlases

* Bright Star Atlas - Wil Tirion (stars to magnitude 6.5)
* Cambridge Star Atlas - Wil Tirion (Stars to magnitude 6.5)
* Norton's Star Atlas and Reference Handbook - Ed. Ian Ridpath (stars to magnitude 6.5)
* [ Stars & Planets Guide] - Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (stars to magnitude 6.0)
* Pocket Sky Atlas - Roger Sinnott (stars to magnitude 7.5)
* Deep Sky Reiseatlas - Michael Feiler, Philip Noack (Telrad Finder Charts - stars to magnitude 7.5)
* Atlas Coeli Skalnate Pleso (Atlas of the Heavens) 1950.0 - Antonin Becvar (stars to magnitude 7.75) Out of print.
* SkyAtlas 2000.0, second edition - Wil Tirion & Roger Sinnott (stars to magnitude 8.5)
* 1987, "Uranometria 2000.0 Deep Sky Atlas" - Wil Tirion, Barry Rappaport, Will Remaklus (stars to magnitude 9.7; 11.5 in selected close-ups)
* Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas - David Herald & Peter Bobroff (stars to magnitude 9 in main charts, 14 in selected sections)
* Millennium Star Atlas - Roger Sinnott, Michael Perryman (stars to magnitude 11)
* Wielki Atlas Nieba (Great Sky Atlas) - Piotr Brych (stars to magnitude 11)
* Field Guide to the Stars and Planets - Jay M. Pasachoff, Wil Tirion charts (stars to magnitude 7.5)
* SkyGX (still in preparation) - Christopher Watson (stars to magnitude 12)

Computerized star atlases

* Celestia
* KStars
* Stellarium

In fiction

The term "Stellar cartography" was used in as the name of a department aboard the Starship Enterprise-D. It was also used in as the name of the department aboard the Starship Voyager. In both cases, the department was a subsection of the ship's science department, and, as the name would suggest, its responsibilities include charting previously-uncharted regions of space as the ship passes through them, as well as operating the ship's astrometrics lab(s); in practice, at least on "Voyager", this meant that Stellar Cartography was responsible for all sensor data collection and analysis other than for ship operations (navigation, cursory ship/planet scans, transporter operation, etc.) or combat.

ee also

*Cheonsang Yeolcha Bunyajido
*History of cartography

External links

* [ Star Maps] from Ian Ridpath's "Star Tales" website.
* [ The Mag-7 Star Atlas Project]
* [ Historical Celestial Atlases on the Web]
* [ Felice Stoppa's ATLAS COELESTIS] an extensive collection of 51 star maps and other astronomy related books stored as a multitude of images.
* [ Monthly star maps for every location on Earth]
* [ Easy to use monthly star maps for northern and southern hemispheres. Helpful target lists for naked eye, binocular, or telescope viewing.]

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