Johannes Hevelius constellation image set for Stellarium

Johannes Hevelius is a XVII century astronomer, who authored, among other things, the celestial atlas Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia. If you are interested in astronomy, there is a good chance that you have seen at least one of the Uranographia‘s artistic depictions of the constellations – as an illustration in a book or somewhere else.

Mark Crossley has created a new “sky culture” for Stellarium that displays these engravings as constellation art. It is still a work in progress: not all constellations are there (and some will never be, as Hevelius published before the current 88 constellations were officially established) and the quality of the images varies. Some of the images are high-quality scans by the Space Telescope Science Institute (HubbleSOURCE: Constellation Mythological Forms), others are scans from elsewhere with lower resolution.

Unfortunately, according to the HubbleSOURCE site, these images can only be used “in planetarium shows, exhibits, videos, and other non-commercial applications.”, so the sky culture can’t be licensed under a free license and distributed together with Stellarium’s main distribution. (But this also means that the people who not-very-ethically sell Stellarium on eBay won’t be able to sell it too.)

An 8 MiB archive containing the current version of the sky culture can be found on Mark Crossley’s website:
Wilmslow Astro » My Software & Stuff
(Scroll down to “Stellarium Hevelius Constellation Art”.)

A screenshot showing the constellation art for Leo and Virgo. The atmosphere has been turned off to enhance the contrast. Credits: Johannes Hevelius (created the art), U.S. Naval Observatory (has a copy of his engravings), Space Telescope Science Institute (scanned them), Mark Crossley (adapted the scans for Stellarium).

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6 Responses to Johannes Hevelius constellation image set for Stellarium

  1. JMason says:

    I use Stellarium and I downloaded your pics and they are awesome. I took the liberty to add the names to them but I will not distribute them. Thank you so much for providing these.

    • Daggerstab says:

      They are not “mine”. 🙂 The credit should go to the people who have made the scans (for the high-resolution images, the Space Telescope Institute) and to Mark Crossley, who has created a Stellarium sky culture from them.

  2. It is a pity that due to license this set will not be in the official Stellarium – a set of very interesting from a historical and artistic points of view.

  3. Pingback: Созвездия Гевелия в Stellarium'е

  4. Mark Crossley says:

    I recently updated the zip on my website (still on the same link as above) to include the credits for the U.S. Naval Observatory and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

    It’s a shame they haven’t released any more of the high resolution scans yet. I didn’t want to waste huge amounts of effort cleaning up small scale scans if high resolution versions were going to be released.

  5. Version 1.0 of the Hevelius Sky Culture is now available from the link in the main article – now with much improved non-USNO images, and a complete set of constellations.

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