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Star cartography , celestial cartography,Warner, D. J., The Sky Explored: Celestial Cartography 1500-1800, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd., Amsterdam / Alan R. Liss, Inc., New York, 1979. or uranographyLovi, G., "Uranography Yesterday and Today," Tirion, W., Rappaport, B., Lovi, G, Uranometria 2000.0, vol.1 - The Northern Hemisphere to - 6 degree, Willmann-Bell, Richmond, 1987. is the fringe of astronomy and branch of cartography concerned with mapping stars, galaxies, and other celestial bodies.Measuring the position and light of charted objects requires a variety of instruments and techniques that have developed from angle measurements with quadrants and the unaided eye, through sextants combined with lenses for light magnification, up to current methods which include computer automated space telescopes. Uranographers have historically produced planetary position tables, star tables and star maps for use by both amateur and professional astronomers. More recently computerized star maps have been compiled, and automated positioning of telescopes is accomplished using databases of stars and other astronomical objects.


The word "uranography" derived from the Greek ουρανογραφια (Koine Greek ουρανος "sky, heaven" + γραφειν "to write") through the Latin uranographia. In renaissance times, uranographia was used of the title of celestial atlases.1690: Hevelius J., Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia.c. 1750: Bevis J., Uranographia Britannica.1801: Bode. J. E., Uranographia sive Astrorum Descriptio. During 19th century, uranography was meaning of the description of the heavens. Elijah H. Burritt renamed it as the geography of the heavens. German in Uranographie, French in uranographie, Italian in uranografia.


Star catalogues

Aquarius according to

Aquarius according to

Johann Bayer's Uranometria

based on the Rudolphine Tables
Aquarius according to


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

Star atlases

Naked eye atlases

Telescopic atlases

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)
  • 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)
  • The Great Atlas of the Sky - Piotr Brych (stars to magnitude 12, galaxies to magnitude 18)

Computerized star atlases

In fiction

The term Stellar cartography was used in Star Trek: The Next Generation as the name of a department aboard the Starship Enterprise-D. It was also used in Star Trek: Voyager 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.


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