What is a star map?
From 1600 to 1800, a number of beautiful star atlases were printed that depicted the constellations according to ancient myths and tales. In Europe, where the quality of celestial atlases was unmatched, classical Greek traditions prevailed, and the constellations were given allegorical visual representations that consisted of heroes and heroines, real and imaginary animals, scientific instruments, and artistic tools. These images were placed in celestial coordinate systems that allowed the positions of the stars to be mapped in the sky and formed the backdrop for predictions of the location of the planets and other heavenly bodies throughout the year. But there was a second kind of image that was found in these celestial atlases as well. These images consisted of diagrams of heavenly bodies or of the entire solar system that reflected both contemporary and ancient cosmological systems. The components of these systems were shown with reference to each other in the sky and in some cases to the background stars. Let’s look at these two types of star map in more detail.
KeywordsCoordinate System Solar System Visual Representation Scientific Instrument Philosophical Foundation
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