The constellation Pisces, 1603.
3 2 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 24cm

The constellation Pisces, 1603.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Illustration taken from 'Uranometria' (1603) by Johann Bayer, showing the zodiacal constellation of Pisces (the Fishes). 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. Pisces contains few objects of great interest to astronomers, apart from a spiral galaxy designated as M74 in the catalogue of objects compiled by the French astronomer Charles Mesier (1730-1817).

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