Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Bayer, Johann

  • Davide Neri
Reference work entry

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...

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Selected References

  1. Ashbrook, Joseph (1984). “Johannes Bayer and His Star Nomenclature.” In The Astronomical Scrapbook, edited by Leif J. Robinson, pp. 411–418. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Sky Publishing Corp.Google Scholar
  2. Rosen, Edward (1970). “Bayer, Johann.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 1, pp. 530–531. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  3. Tooley, R. V. (1979). Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers. Tring, England: Map Collector Publications, p. 44.Google Scholar
  4. Warner, Deborah J. (1979). The Sky Explored: Celestial Cartography, 1500–1800. New York: Alan R. Liss, pp.18-20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liceo Scientifico “A.B. Sabin”BolognaItaly