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Doppelmayr's Celestial Atlas

Giles Sparrow, Martin Rees


A beautiful showcase of Johann Doppelmayr’s magnificent Atlas Coelestis that deconstructs its intricately drawn plates and explores its influential ideas

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Showcasing Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr’s magnificent 1742 map of the cosmos, Atlas Coelestis, this spectacular guide to the heavens is also a superb introduction to the fundamentals and history of astronomy.

Charting constellations, planets, comets and moons, Doppelmayr’s Atlas presents the ideas and discoveries of many famous and influential astronomers, including Copernicus, Riccioli, Kepler, Newton and Halley, in intricate colour plates that interweave annotated diagrams and tables with figurative drawings and ornamental features. Here, you can appreciate the beauty of those exquisite astronomical and cosmographical plates and comprehend the details, which are also presented in step-by-step deconstructed form. Astronomer Giles Sparrow elucidates the scientific ideas inherent in each plate, expertly decoding and analysing the complex information contained in them and placing Doppelmayr’s sumptuous Atlas in the context of the ground-breaking discoveries made during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods.

A spectacular, revelatory celestial compendium to the cosmos, Phænomena expands on and explains Doppelmayr’s original, awe-inspiring Atlas and reflects upon its influence on the development of the science of astronomy to the present day.

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'Published in 1742, this extraordinary work, illustrating everything that was known of the cosmos at the time, is given new life in Giles Sparrow’s edition. This is a book ultimately as accessible to the non-scientist as it is to the specialist … a story of increasing fascination'
The Spectator

'Giles Sparrow’s wonderful tribute to Doppelmayr’s important work is stunning, enormous and filled with the most amazing illustrations'
BBC Sky at Night



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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Quarterbound (no jacket)

Size: 36.5 x 26.5 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Illustrations: 736

Publication date: 25 October 2022

ISBN: 9780500024294

Contents List

Foreword by Martin Rees

Introduction: Doppelmayr & His World

The Atlas Coelestis

Legacy: The Pathway to Modern Astronomy

Milestones of Astronomy
Dramatis Personae

Further Reading
Sources of Illustrations

About the Author

Giles Sparrow is a writer and editor specializing in astronomy and physics. He studied astronomy at University College London and science communication at Imperial College and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has written for books, magazines and multi-volume encyclopaedias on a wide range of topics, from cutting-edge space technology to the history of science, and from distant constellations to ancient archaeology. He regularly contributes to magazines, including All About Space and Sky at Night, and is the author of the bestselling Cosmos, A History of the Universe in 21 Stars, Spaceflight and What Shape is Space? A primer for the 21st century, from Thames & Hudson’s The Big Idea series.

Martin Rees is an astrophysicist and cosmologist, and the United Kingdom’s Astronomer Royal. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 2004 to 2012 and President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. In 2012 he co-founded the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, an interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to studying and reducing the threat of global catastrophes.