Source: Vincenzo Coronelli, Celestial Globe Gores (Paris, 1693; reprint ca. 1800); History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries
Object: NGC 3372, with Eta Carinae, in Argo Navis; European Southern Observatory (ESO). IDA/Danish 1.5 m/R.Gendler, J-E. Ovaldsen, C. Thöne, and C. Feron. (CC-by)
Composite: The Sky Tonight, skytonight.org (CC-by)
This diffuse interstellar gas cloud was discovered in 1751 by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille as he was observing from the Cape of Good Hope. It surrounds the irregular variable Eta Carinae, one of the most massive, luminous and mysterious of stars. In 1843, Eta Carinae shone brighter than any star except Sirius.
Argo Navis, the ship of the Argonauts, was included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy. In 1756, Lacaille dismantled Argo Navis into three smaller constellations: Carina the Keel, Puppis the Stern or Poop, and Vela the Sail.
Coronelli was an influential maker of celestial and terrestrial globes. To make a globe, 24 pie-shaped map sections, called gores, would be hand-colored, cut out and glued onto a wood and paper-maché base. These 3 gores were part of a set produced to make a celestial globe 3 and half feet in diameter. They were designed by Arnold Deuvez and engraved by Jean-Baptiste Nolin in Paris. The set was a reprint of gores 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.