The constellation Scorpius (Scorpio), 1603.
3 2 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 24cm

The constellation Scorpius (Scorpio), 1603.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Illustration taken from 'Uranometria' (1603) by Johann Bayer, showing the zodiacal constellation of Scorpius (the scorpion). German astronomer and lawyer Johann Bayer (1572-1625) invented the system for naming stars using letters from the Greek alphabet, a system still used today for the brighter stars - those visible to the human eye without the aid of a telescope. 'Uranometria' depicts the positions of nearly 1000 stars in addition to those identified by Tycho Brahe. Scorpius contains several star clusters included in the catalogue of objects compiled by the Fench astromomer Charles Mesier (1730-1817), as well as Antares, a red supergiant and the 15th brightest star visible in the night sky.

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