Flamsteed’s Cancer

Flamsteed’s Cancer

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Appointed in 1675 to the newly created post of Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed (1646-1719) compiled the first telescopic catalog of the positions and magnitudes of stars visible from Greenwich. He also prepared a set of celestial charts that, in his words, were to be “the glory of the work, and, next the catalogue, the usefullest part of it.” In 1729 these charts were published in the Atlas Coelestis by the late Reverend Mr. John Flamsteed Regius Professor of Astronomy at Greenwich.
This chart is from that work. It extends from 45° to 95° North Polar Distance and from 6h to 10h Right Ascension. It is drawn on a Sanson-Flamsteed sinusoidal projection. It shows the stars of magnitudes 1 to 7, with the brighter ones identified by Bayer letters.
Working from Flamsteed’s catalog and manuscript maps, Abraham Sharp drew the coordinates and positioned the stars. James Thornhill (and other artists whose names are not known) drew the constellation figures. And various engravers in London and Amsterdam prepared the copper plates from which the prints could be made.
Ref: Deborah Warner, The Sky Explored. Celestial Cartography 1500-1800 (New York, 1979), pp. 80-82.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
place made
United Kingdom: England
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 21 in x 27 in; 53.34 cm x 68.58 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Science & Mathematics
Prints from the Physical Sciences Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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