Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Atlas of the Heavens

Delphinus, Equuleus, and Antinous Constellations
 During the nineteenth century, the State Library’s collection policy brought in publications in a wide range of topics and formats. One such example is a beautiful volume for the study of uranography –a branch of astronomy that deals with making maps of the constellations– entitled Atlas of the Heavens; Showing the Places of the Principal Stars, Clusters and Nebulae (1849).
Sagittarius Constellations
 This book features 18 plates of constellations printed on a blue background. Created by Erza Otis Kendall, the plates show the principal stars in each constellation forming animal and human shapes. The illustration at left shows the Sagittarius constellation. The one above shows the Delphinus (Dolphin), Equuleus (Little Horse) and Antinous constellations. (While Delphinus and Equuleus constellations remain among the 88 modern constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union, Antinous is no longer in use by astronomers).

This book of plates accompanies E. Otis Kendall’s Uranography: or, a Description of the Heavens; Designed for Academies and Schools, published by E.H. Butler & Co. in 1849 and also in the State Library’s collections.

To see this and other titles visit the State Library, in the Massachusetts State House. The Library is open Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm.

Silvia Mejía
Special Collections