An encyclopedic atlas of everything astronomical
By DOPPELMAYER, Gabriel , 1742

Atlas Novus Coelestis in Quo Mundus Spectabilis, et in Eodem tam Errantium Quam Inerrantium Stellarum Phoenomena Notabilia, Crica Ipsarum Lumen.

  • Author: DOPPELMAYER, Gabriel
  • Publication place: Nuremberg
  • Publisher: Homann Heirs
  • Publication date: 1742.
  • Physical description: Folio (540 by 340mm), additional engraved allegorical title-page by J.C. Reinsperger after J.J. Preisler, vignette title-page printed in red and black, letterpress list of charts laid down on verso, 30 double-page engraved charts, all with fine contemporary hand-colour in full, all mounted on guards; eighteenth century half calf, marbled paper boards
  • Dimensions: 540 by 340mm. (21.25 by 13.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 20501


As was expected of the scions of wealthy families at the time, after many years of travelling throughout Europe, expanding his knowledge and experience, Gabriel Doppelmayer / Doppelmayr returned to his home city of Nuremberg in 1702 and combined forces with a former Dominican monk, Johann Baptist Homann (1664-1724) to create a series of astronomical and cosmological engravings that were issued in Homann’s general atlases. In 1742, these were collected and issued as the ‘Atlas Novus Coelestis’, an encyclopedic celestial atlas, that would attempt to record every single thing then known about astronomy. Principally, the charts in the atlas successfully demonstrate how successive astronomers had struggled to uphold the idea of a geocentric cosmos with increasingly complicated models, until the simple evidence of a heliocentric universe became overwhelming.

The thirty plates include twenty that illustrate: the cosmographical theories of Copernicus, Tycho Brahe; planetary motions, the solar system, the moon’s surface, the theory of eclipses, the passage of comets across both the northern and southern skies. The remaining ten plates are star charts: two centered on the equatorial poles; two on ecliptic poles; and six plates that use a gnomonic projection with geocentric orientation in sequence, starting with the north equatorial pole, the vernal equinox, the summer solstice, the autumnal equinox, the winter solstice, and the south equatorial pole, all showing the paths of important comets.

“Besides being a star chart and a selenographic map, the Atlas includes diagrams illustrating the planetary systems of Copernicus, Tycho, and Riccioli; the elliptic theories of Kepler, Boulliau, Seth Ward, and Mercator; the lunar theories of Tycho, Horrocks, and Newton; and Halley’s cometary theory” (DSB)

Johann Doppelmayr (1677-1750) was “a Professor of Mathematics at the Aegidien Gymnasium in Nuremberg. He wrote on a number of topics, including astronomy, geography, cartography, spherical trigonometry, and scientific instruments, and he collaborated in the production of terrestrial and celestial globes. He was a member of the Royal Society of London and the Berlin and St. Petersburg Academies of Sciences” (Kanas). He was born in Nuremberg, the son of the merchant Johann Siegmund Doppelmayr. He entered the Aegidien-Gymnasium in Nuremberg in 1689, then the University of Altdorf in 1696. His studies included mathematics, physics, and jurisprudence. Later he continued his studies in Halle and graduated in 1698 with a dissertation on the Sun. During studying at the University of Halle, he also learned French and Italian. After giving up his legal studies he then spent two years traveling and studying in Germany, Holland, and England, spending time at Utrecht, Leiden, Oxford, and London, during which time he learned to speak French, Italian, and English. He continued to study astronomy and learned to grind and figure his own telescope lenses.

His career was academic, and he became Professor of Mathematics at the Aegidien-Gymnasium from 1704 until his death. He is not noted for any discoveries, but he did publish several works of a scientific nature. His publications covered topics on mathematics and astronomy, including sundials, spherical trigonometry, and celestial maps and globes. One of his works also included useful biographical information on several hundred mathematicians and instrument makers of Nuremberg.


bookplate of British antiquarian Thomas Edward Amyot on front pastedown, and inscribed by him on the verso of the vignette title-page, and dated August 8th, 1862


  1. Kanas, 'Star Maps', 2009

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