Johan [Jan] Hevelius (January 28, 1611 - January 28, 1687)
Johan (or Jan, or Johannes) Hevel (or Hevelke, Hewel, Hewelcke, Höwelcke;
latinized Hevelius) was living in Dantzig as a wealthy brewer and city
He built his observatory "Sternenburg" on the upper floors of four houses, and
installed a 130-foot focal length air telescope. His contributions to astronomy
For the latter project, he obtained positions for 1564 stars. These were
eventually published posthumously in 1690 by his second wife, Elizabeth
Margarethe, in a catalog, Prodomus Astronomiae, and an atlas,
Uranographia, which contained 54 fine plates. Both these works also
contain the positions of 16 'nebulous stars'. Unfortunately, of these, only two
(M31 and M44)
are real deepsky objects, which did not prevent this collection to become
famous and cause many astronomers to spend a lot of time to look for them
without success, including Derham and
- The determination of the solar rotation period with considerable
acuracy from sunspot observations in 1642-1645,
- detailed maps of the Moon published in 1647 in his
Selenographia based on 10 years of observation, including diagrams
of phases and first estimates of Lunar mountain heights,
- observations of a number of comets. Published his Prodomus Cometicus
in 1665, followed by Cometographia in 1668 with observations the
comets of 1647, 1652, 1661, 1664, and 1665. Continued to observe later
comets, including that of 1672, 1677, and 1682 (Comet Halley),
- independent discovery (July 25, 1670) and observations of
Cygni; observations and naming of
- observations for a new star catalog.
Hevelius is commemorated by the naming of Moon Crater Hevelius (2.2N, 67.6W,
115.0 km diameter, named 1935) as well as asteroid (5703) Hevelius, discovered
November 15, 1931 by K. Reinmuth in Heidelberg, provisionally designated 1931 VS
as well as 1931 XH, 1964 VU and 1989 VL from independent findings.
- Kenneth Glyn Jones, 1968.
The Search for the Nebulae -- II.
Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Vol. 78, No. 5 (1968),
p. 360-368. Section on Hevelius: p. 366.
Reprinted in: The Search for the Nebulae. Chalfont St. Giles, 1975.
- Kenneth Glyn Jones, 1991.
Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters. 2nd ed, Cambridge University Press,
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