Hercules constellation, 1603

Hercules constellation, 1603

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hercules constellation, 17th century artwork. Hercules is the Roman name for Heracles, a heroic figure in Greek mythology. This illustration is from Johann Bayer's Uranometria (Greek for 'sky measurements'), a star atlas and catalogue that contains a total of 51 stellar maps. The book, published in 1603, was the first of its kind since it portrayed the constellations as maps rather than as mythological pictures. Each engraving has a reference grid so that the stars' positions in the sky can be precisely determined.

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