Johann Bayer (1572 – 7 March 1625), a lawyer by training, was an amateur astronomer and self-taught uranographer (celestial cartographer). The crater Bayer on the Moon is named after him. Here we see his paintings of the 12 constellation that make up the signs of the zodiac.
Johann Bayer’s star atlas Uranometria Omnium Asterismorum (“Uranometry of all the asterisms”) was first published in 1603 in Augsburg, Germany. It was the first atlas to cover the entire celestial sphere. It contained 51 star charts, one for each of the 48 constellations listed by Greco-Roman astronomer Ptolemy (after 150 CE), plus a map of the newly discovered southern constellations, and two planispheres of the northern and southern skies.
Bayer’s atlas introduced a new system of celestial nomenclature. He assigned Greek letters to the brighter stars – the brightest star in the Bull’s eye became alpha Tauri, the brightest star in the Centaur became alpha Centauri and so on. These letters were placed in a table on the back of each chart.
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