Beautiful Celestial Maps from the 1700s

“The Atlas Celeste de Flamsteed” cover; Owned by the Astor Library

“The Atlas Celeste de Flamsteed” contains early mappings of many well known constellations and stars that we are familiar with today.

John Flamsteed was an English astronomer in the late 1600s, who became the first Astronomer Royal under King Charles II. Flamsteed spent his life looking at the heavens and documenting over 3000 stars for those of us down below, according to the The Public Domain Review. He also made some of the earliest sightings of the planet Uranus and correctly predicted two solar eclipses.

I discovered this atlas of Flamsteed’s findings in the New York Public Library Digital Collections, which were published posthumously by his wife. The atlas you see here was published in 1776 by French engineer Nicolas Fortin, who updated some of the star positions.



Northern Hemisphere Constellation Map; C: Astor Library

Ursa Major; C: Astor Library

Sagittarius; C: Astor Library

The Unicorn and Canis Major; C: Astor Library

The Gemini; C: Astor Library

Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Rangifer, Ursa Minor, Draco; C: Astor Library

Constellation map; C: Astor Library


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