Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 179-180


Bayer, Johann

BornRain, (Bavaria, Germany), 1572

DiedAugsburg, (Bavaria, Germany), 1625

Johann Bayer is known mainly for his celestial atlas entitled Uranometria (Augsburg, 1603), and for having introduced the star nomenclature that is still in use.

Astronomer and lawyer, Bayer studied in Ingolstadt and Augsburg and became legal adviser to the city council of Augsburg. Although collections of celestial maps were published in Italy during the sixteenth century, as part of astronomical treatises by Alessandro Piccolomini and Giovanni Gallucci, Uranometria presented for the first time all the characteristics typical of the great celestial atlases of the modern age: the large format, the maps of constellations with the corresponding mythological figures, and the catalog of the stars contained in the celestial charts. (Bayer drew his data from the catalog of Tycho Brahe.)

While Piccolomini identified the stars by means of Latin letters, Bayer introduced a nomenclature based on the use of Greek letters follow ...

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