Johann Elert Bode, Pl. 9 Aquila, Ophiuchus, Serpens Ophiuci, Uranographia sive astrorum descriptio..., 1797–1801, uncolored engraving

$4,000 this week only (list price $6,000). Offer expires 11-27-2017

Laura Oppenheimer


Johann Elert Bode, Pl. 9 Aquila; Ophiuchus; Serpens Ophiuchi; Uranographia sive astrorum descriptio..., 1797–1801, uncolored engraving

Enjoy significant savings on Pl.9 Aquila, Ophiuchus; Serpens Ophiuchi, a remarkable celestial map from Johann Elert Bode’s, Uranographia, sive astrorum descriptio viginti tabulis aenis incisa ex ex recentimmis et absolotissimis astronomorum observationibus. (Uranographia, or the stellar description of the twenty panels with brass engravings from recent astronomers observations), published in Berlin, 1797–1801.

This fascinating and beautiful work is a classically elegant rendering of the constellations. Bode sought to encompass the knowledge of astronomers from the time of Ptolemy to the beginning of the nineteenth century in his celestial charts. The engraved plates are accompanied by a catalogue, Allgemeine Beschreibung und Nachweisung der Gestirne nebst Verzeichnis der geraden Aufsteigung und der Abweichung von 17240 Sternen. (The constellations of the stars as well as the list of straight ascension and the deviation of 17,240 stars), also published in Berlin, which lists 17,240 stars, more than any other star atlas.

In the catalog’s preface, Bode provides an overview of his celestial maps and their use, and presents the subject in the larger context of a sacred contemplation of wonders (translated below from German).

This work, which contains principally a complete catalog of the place occupied by all the fixed stars; double, nebulae, and clusters, which are indicated in my Uranography or Atlas of the Celestial Maps in 20 sheets of the greatest form, is of an indispensable necessity for every astronomer, and may become very useful to lovers of high astronomy. It appears here, working with the greatest economy, on 24 sheets, after having cost me five years, and a lot of time and trouble. The whole reflection of the work is sacred to the friends of heaven, who consecrate their leisure to the contemplation of its wonders. I suppose that besides the possession of Uranography, they desire to be instructed in several points relating to the explanation and use of celestial maps, and to learn...the stars in the order of their different constellations.

An exquisite example of Bode's celestial maps, fine engraving, double-elephant size: 26.5 x 38.75  inches.

 $4,000 this week only (list price $6,000). Offer expires 11-27-17.

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Published in Berlin by Berolini  in five parts from 1797 to 1801, Bode’s monumental work, Uranographia site Astrorum Descriptio… is the largest celestial star map ever produced and the last of the great star atlases of the Golden Age of the Celestial Atlas. The work of thirty astronomers of the preceding 200 years, including Lacaille, Lalande, Messier, and William Herschel is synthesized in this atlas, and over 100 constellations and asterisms are depicted, many added by Bode. In addition, it includes all stars visible to the naked eye. Some 2,500 nebulae catalogued by William Herschel late in 1700s also are shown. Bode’s accompanying catalogue,  Allgemeine Beschreibung und Nachweisung der Gestirne nebst Verzeichnis der geraden Aufsteigung und der Abweichung von 17240 Sternen. (Berlin), lists 17,240 stars, more than any other atlas.

The German mathematician and astronomer Johann Elert Bode (1747– 1826), was the eldest son of nine children born to a merchant. His father educated him to follow him into his business as a merchant. During his youth, he developed an interest in mathematics, geography, and astronomy, and he built a telescope and observatory in the garret of his family’s home.

In 1765, Bode was introduced to the mathematics professor, Johann Georg Busch (1728–1800), who gave Bode access to his library and instruments. Bode’s first publication, on solar eclipse of August 5, 1766, appeared when he was 19 years old. Bode also observed the transit of Venus June 3, 1769, and an made an independent co-discovery of the comets of 1769 and 1770. He is best known for Bode’s law (Bode, 1772), or the Titius-Bode Law, an empirical law that determines planetary distances, originally found by J.D. Titius (1729–96). In 1787, Bode became Director of the Berlin Observatory, a post he held until 1825, one year before his death. 

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