This set of thirty-two engraved and hand-coloured celestial star charts were first printed in 1824 to help teach the constellations.

Patterns in the sky

Names and stories have been given to the patterns that stars make in the sky throughout history and across many different cultures. These patterns are grouped into figures, called contellations. 

Urania's Mirror celestial chart fact file

Date

1820 - 1825

Made from

Cardboard, tissue paper

Made by

Sidney Hall and Samuel Leigh 

Museum reference

T.1972.10.A to T.1972.10.Z. Also T.1972.10.AA, T.1972.10.AB, T.1972.10.AC, T.1972.10.AD, T.1972.10.AE

See all image references in menu below.

 

Did you know?

At its inaugural meeting in 1922 in Rome, the International Astronomical Union standardised the constellation names and abbreviations

Two-faced constellations

Celestial globes show the stars as they appear from Earth. Creating a completely new star map is an immense undertaking, and old versions were often copied. 

Islamic and European globes have many of the same constellations, but usually show them in different ways. The human figures on European globes are normally drawn facing in towards the Earth, which is imagined at the centre of the celestial globe. On Islamic globes, the figures face to look out towards the person using the globe.  

 

The 'New British Celestial Globe' by Thomas M. Bardin, London, 1800, retailed by J. Webb, an optician based in London's Tottenham Court Road

Some southern constellations were named as late as the 18th century, such as Horologium, the clock. Several of these constellations are shown on this globe.

Celestial globe showing the traditional Islamic representations of the constellations, by Diya' ad-din Muhammad, Lahore, 1663

This hollow brass glove is an amazing feat of metal work. It was cast in one piece without joins. The silver dots represent stars. 

28. The constellations Psalterium Georgii, Fluvius Eridanus, Cetus, Officina Sculptoris, Fornax Chemica and Machina Electrica

32. The constellations Noctua, Corvus, Crater, Sextans Uraniae, Hydra, Felis, Lupus, Centaurus, Antila Pneumatica, Argo Navis and Pyxis Nautica

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