Starlight - (late) Friday Flash Fun.
In 1627, Schiller's Coelum Stellatum Christianum attempted to replace the mythical constellation figures with Christian figures. More from the Linda Hall Library Digital Services Unit. Art, illustration, and astronomy aficionados will appreciate the beauty of historic celestial atlas illustrations: Bayer's Uranometria 1603 (also the 1661 Edition), Flamsteed - Fortin Atlas Celeste - 1776 (text intro), Celestial Atlas by Alexander Jamieson. HubbleSource is cleaning up scans from one historic atlas and making them available in web and hi-res versions for use in non-commercial applications. (See also: David Rumsey Map Collection, and the exhibition Out of this World (index & T.O.C.), more Images, Artwork and Historical Objects at the US Naval Observatory. [more inside]
The U.S. Naval Observatory Library features high-res scans of images from antique books dealing with astronomy and navigation. Wallpapers, ahoy!
So I'm driving to Salina, KS in the middle of the night and I realize that in all that nothing, I can look out my windshield and I can see stars. Like, all the stars. And I think that it's a bummer that I don't know that much about what it is I'm looking at.
Celestial Atlases are perhaps some of the most beautiful scientific books ever published, capturing the mystery and the grandeur of the heavens, and rife with beautiful and often intimidating interpretations of the constellations. Out Of This World has been my favorite website since the dawning of time, and one I go back to over and over again even though it never changes. The period from 1603 to 1801 produced the most beautiful star maps, and you don't have to know a thing about astronomy to appreciate how heavenly these are.