Johann Bayer

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Bayer was born in Rhain, Germany, near the confluence of the Lech and Danube rivers. He was a lifelong lawyer, of some local regard, having been appointed legal advisor to city council of Augsburg at an annual salary of 500 gulden, in 1612. He thought of himself as an amateur astronomer. In 1603, he published a beautiful and very influential survey of the skies - the 'Uranometria'. which literally translates as “measuring the heavens”. It is a truly great celestial atlas, combining innovative scientific rigour with artistic beauty. Bayer's work is the most complete catalogue of pre-telescopic astronomy, as well as the first celestial atlas showing the constellations as their traditional mythical figures, with the exact position of each star scientifically labelled. Published just one year later than Tycho Brahe’s star catalogue, Bayer includes nearly 1,000 more stars as well as the first accurate chart of 12 newly observed Southern constellations. For the first time, Bayer ranked the stars according to their degree of brightness, using a new Greek key of small alphabetical letters.

Constellation of Signus the Swan from Bayer Star Chart Atlas