French

  • Coronelli, Celestial Globe Gores

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    Coronelli, a Franciscan theologian and astronomer who worked in both Italy and France, was a founder of modern geography and an influential maker of celestial and terrestrial globes. Makers of globes printed sheets of map sections, called gores, which were then hand-colored, cut out and glued onto a wood and paper-maché base. 

    These 9 gores were part of a set of 24 produced at the request of Coronelli’s Accademia Cosmografica to make a 3.5 foot diameter celestial globe. They were designed by Arnold Deuvez and engraved by Jean-Baptiste Nolin in Paris. The set was a reprint of gores which Coronelli printed in Venice in 1688. At the time, Coronelli’s 1688 globe was the largest and most accurate printed celestial globe. The Latin and French legends distinguish this 1693 Paris reprint from the 1688 originals, which were in Italian.

    These gores are reprints made in 1800 using the original 1693 plates.

    In the Epitome Cosmographica, Coronelli explained how to use celestial and terrestrial globes and his techniques for constructing them. The Epitome describes how Coronelli famously constructed a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes for Louis XIV which measured more than 12 feet in diameter. 

  • Messier, “Catalogue des Nébuleuses et des Amas d’Étoiles”

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    This is the first edition of Messier’s catalog of cloudy spots or “nebulae,” numbered from M1 to M45. The Great Orion Nebula is M42. In 1781, Messier published a final catalog of 103 nebulae, which are now called “Messier objects.”

    Comet watching required an ever more complete mapping of the sky. In multiple articles, Messier traced the routes of comets through various constellations, mapping the nebulae along the way so as not to confuse them with the comets.

    Earlier in this same volume, Messier published an article, with a star map, describing the second comet of 1770-1771, which passed near Orion.

  • LaCaille, Planisphere contenant les Constellations Celestes

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    The explosion of knowledge in the 18th century included a dramatic increase in the inventory of stars and the creation of new constellations, particularly involving the southern hemisphere.  

    From an observatory in the Cape of Good Hope, Lacaille recorded 9,000 star positions. He invented 14 constellations which first appear in this article, including the Clock, Telescope, Microscope and the Southern Cross.

    One of his 14 new constellations is small Pyxis, the Compass of Argo Navis, located nearby. Lacaille dismantled Argo Navis into a set of smaller constellations: Carina the Keel, Puppis the Stern or Poop, and Vela the Sail, although these do not appear in the star map. To view Argo Navis you’ll need to sail to Australia or South America; only Puppis becomes visible to observers in the US. The bright star Canopus, once alpha-Argus, now lies in Carina.

  • Flamsteed, Atlas Celeste; ed. Fortin

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    A globe maker for the French royal family, J. Fortin, prepared this edition of Flamsteed’s celestial atlas in a much reduced format. 

    Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal, who oversaw the building of the Greenwich Observatory. Newton relied upon Flamsteed’s star positions in his Principia. Flamsteed’s large atlas was the most celebrated and influential star atlas of the 18th century, posthumously published in 1729.