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Map with Comets C/1698 R1 and C/1702 H1
(Kronk, Cometography, Vol. 1 - page
383-384 & 388)
Below we find the path of the comet of 1698 near the head on Cepheus. "B" marks an observation made on September 4, 1698.
Another fine detail, shown below, is the path of both the 1698 and the 1702 comet through the arm of the Serpent Bearer (Ophiuchus). "M", "N", "O" and "P" mark observations of the 1698 comet on September 15, 16, 24 and 28. "b" to "g" mark daily observations of the 1702 comet on April 27-30 and of May 3 and 4.
Map with Comet C/1742
(Kronk, Cometography, Vol. 1 - page
Below we can see the comet near Lyra and Cygnus, as it was observed from March 7 to 9.
Map with Comet C/1748 H1
(Kronk, Cometography, Vol. 1 -
It features two interesting 'guests'. The first is Tycho Brahe's supernova, designated as 'Nova Stella 1572'.
The second is
C/1748 H1 (Kronk, Cometography, Vol. 1 - page 414-415).
To me, this comet is the
most interesting feature on the map. It's position is given for May 2 to
May 30 1748.
The way the constellations are drawn resembles Doppelmayr, as we can see below, the constellations are drawn the same way and also the designation of individual star is identical and not in accordance with Bayer. It seems the maker is inspired by Doppelmayr, but the real artist ánd the real observer remained unknown - at least for the time being.
1748 "unknown" starmap Doppelmayr, 1742
Then, on October 12, 2005 it turned out that the map shows observations made by the Dutch Amateur-Astronomer Pieter Gabry of The Hague. The map was used in a Dutch/Latin-leaflet called "Observationes astronomicae de via cometae anni 1748, cum nominibus et magnitudine singularum stellarum fixarum". Is was printed by Gerard du Mée te Den Haag, the only known locations of a copy are the 'Akademie der Wissenschaften' of Göttingen, Germany, the New York State Library, United States, and the Universitätsbibliothek of Tübingen, Germany (information received from Rob van Gent and Huib Zuidervaart).
I am very grateful to historian Huib Zuidervaart, who owns a photo-copy of the leaflet for his assistance to solve this mystery. Below Pieter Gabry's account (written in old Dutch) on this comet is given.
The map was published in September 2007 in number 149 (Volume 45, Part 3) of the Journal 'History of Science' to illustrate an impressive article of Huib Zuidervaart on Pieter Gabry: “A Plague to the Learned World”: Pieter Gabry, F.R.S. (1715–1770) and His Use of Natural Philosophy to Gain Prestige and Social Status, (page 287-326).
Recently I acquired a page of Hartmann Schedel's 'Liber Chronicarum', published in 1493, with a woodprint of a comet on it, according to Kronk the comet in question is no other than the most famous of comets: Halley's Comet.
The accompanying text states that the comet led to three month's of severe bad weather causing many deaths and failed harvest.
"Eigentlicher Abriß und Situation deß Neuen Sternes, wie derselbe zu Regensburg, und anderer Orthen im H. Röm. Riech den 14/24, 15/25, 16/26 Decembris des 1652. Jahrs, Observiert und gesehen worden."
2005 I purchased this leaflet. It shows three subsequent
observations of this nice comet on 24-26 December 1652 (Gregorian
Calendar - also the dates according to the Julian Calendar are
mentioned; 14-16 December). It shows the comet near the Pleiades.
From the compass card (Sept. = Septentrio =
North / Orie. =
East / Meri. = Meridies = South /
Occi. = Occidens = West) the lower left corner we learn that the comet
was visible in the Eastern sky (Oriens is up).
There are several remarkable things about this leaflet. First of all, the drawing op the Pleiades is upside down. Is it possible that the artist who made this drawing (or he who ordered it) had watched the Pleiades through a telescope? Anyway, it lured people to think that the Great Bear / Big Dipper (Ursa Major) was drawn, not the Pleiades. Furthermore, as we can see, the position of the observations (or better: sightings) differs from the actual position. But who cares? It is a nice eyewitness account concerning a comet never to return again.
About the mix up of the
Pleiades and Ursa Major: Sumner Hunnewell from Austin, Missouri, USA,
draw my attention to
"A Narrative of the Planting of the Massachusets-Colony
&c." published in the "Collections of the Massachusetts Historical
Society" in 1694:
My copy of this leaflet has been published in the January 2008 issue of 'The Antiquarian Astronomer', the Journal of the Society for the History of Astronomy in the UK, where it featured an outstanding article, written by Mike Frost of the Coventry and Warwickshire Astronomical Society, on the Northamptonshire Astronomers of the 17th Century John Twysden and John Palmer.
The first comet discovered with a telescope by Gottfried Kirch, of Koburg, Germany, on 1680 November 14th.
This chart titles 'COMET welcher
Anno 1680 und 1681 beobachtet worden' ('Comet that has been observed
in 1680 and 1681'),
and was published in 1691 in Matheus Merian's 'Theatri
Europaei, Zwölffter Theil'.
This map was published in the January 2008 issue of
the Dutch astronomy magazine Zenit.
Comet läst sich in Europa sehen.
(text in italic and brackets added by HB):
The copperplate was later reused in 1696 for Johannes Zahn's Speculae Physico-Mathematico-Historea, printed in Nuremberg.
There is also something peculiar
about this chart. What puzzled me right away was the large oval to the
lower right. It just didn't make sense.
Until I found out about the
tale of the 'Comet egg leg laid by a Roman hen in 1680', published by
Friedrich Madeweis (Berlin, 1681) - this can be found on website of the
I would like to thank Maik Meyer, www.comethunter.de, for his information on this matter. It was of great help solving this riddle.
The text reads as
is referred to is written by Johann Christoph Wagner (1640 - ?) and
In the tail of the comet the following constellations are drawn: Delphinus (Dolphin), Cygnus (Swan), Aquila (Eagle) and Antinous.
Around 1690 Christoph Weigel
published under his latin name Christophoro Weigelio his 'Ethica
Naturalis' (complete title: Ethica Naturalis seu Documenta Moralia e
variis rerum Naturalium proprietatibus Virtutum Vitiorumque symbolicis
imaginibus collecta), a so called "Emblem Book".
I purchased this page in April 2005.
Reinier Ott translated this text into Dutch (Thanks Reinier!) - one day I will translate it to English.
nieuw vuur verdrijft de nacht
het ongewoon licht van een hemellichaam,
Even now, after all these centuries this text still has potency to scare the s... out of (ignorant) people!
The same plate also appears in
the Dutch Emblem Book: "Beschouwing der Wereld" (1708) by
Jan Luiken (or Luyken), 1649-1712, with a direction to
two Bible verses:
"And there shall be terrors and
great signs from heaven", Luke XXI:11, and