Bode’s Northern Celestial Planisphere

Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826) served as the director of the astronomical observatory of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, edited the Astronomisches Jahrbuch, and published several popular texts and atlases. This planisphere is derived from a chart in his Anleitung zur Kenntniss des gestirnten Himmels (Hamburg, 1768). It extends from the south equatorial pole to 38° South declination, and shows the stars of magnitudes 1 to 6. The brightest stars are identified by Bayer letters. Some stars are named. The text at the top reads “Stereographischer Entwurf des Gestirnten Himmels / vom Nordpol bis zum 38sten Grad südlicher Abweichung von J. E. Bode.” The “gestochen von C. C. Glassbach” signature at bottom refers to Carl Christian Glasbach (b. 1751), an engraver in Berlin.
This is similar to the other Bode planisphere in the collections, but has several constellations that originated with Bode: Renthier within the bounds of Cepheus; Der Einseidler within the bounds of Die Waage; Messier within the bounds of Casseopeja; Friedrichs Ehre, Die Georgs Harfe within the bounds of Der Fluss Eridanus; Herschels Telescop, Mauer Quadrant, Die Katz within the bounds of Die Wasser Schlanger; Der Luft Ballon within the bounds of Der Steinbock; Die Logleine within the bounds of Der Compas; Die Electrisirmachine within the bounds of Die Bildhauer Werkstadt; and Buchdrucker Werkstadt within the bounds of Das Schiff des Argo.
Ref: Deborah Warner, The Sky Explored. Celestial Cartography 1500-1800 (New York, 1979), pp. 34-39.
Object Name
date made
ca 1800
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 26 in x 26 in x 23 in; 66.04 cm x 66.04 cm x 58.42 cm
place made
Deutschland: Berlin, Berlin
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Prints from the Physical Sciences Collection
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Prints from the Physical Sciences Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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