Johannes Hevelius bigraphy, stories - Astronomers

Johannes Hevelius : biography

28 January 1611 - 28 January 1687

Johannes Hevelius

Some sources refer to Hevelius as Polish:

Some sources refer to Hevelius as German:

  • Encyclopedia Britannica (1911)
  • of the Royal Society
  • ( – 28 January 1687) was a councilor and mayor of Danzig (Gdańsk), Pomeranian Voivodeship, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.Robert Bideleux, Ian Jeffries, A History of Eastern Europe: Crisis and Change, Routledge, 1998, p. 124, ISBN 0-415-16112-6 As an astronomer he gained a reputation as "the founder of lunar topography" and described ten new constellations, seven of which are still recognized by astronomers.


[[Peter Crüger's azimuthal quadrant, completed by Hevelius]] Throughout his life, Hevelius took a leading part in municipal administration, becoming town councillor in 1651; but from 1639 on, his chief interest was astronomy. In 1641 he built an observatory on the roofs of his three connected houses, equipping it with splendid instruments, including ultimately a large Keplerian telescope of 45 m (150 ft) focal length, with a wood and wire tube he constructed himself. This may have been the longest "tubed" telescope before the advent of the tubeless aerial telescope. [[Woodcut of Hevelius' 45 m (150 ft) focal-length telescope]] The observatory was known by the name Sternenburg ( ) or "Star Castle" This private observatory was visited by Polish Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga on 29 January 1660. As a subject of the Polish Kings, Hevelius enjoyed the patronage of four subsequent kings of Poland,H. Skimborowicz: Żywot i prace J. Heweliusza, Gdańszczanina, żyjącego pod panowaniem 4 królów polskich and his family was raised to the position of nobility by the King of Poland Jan Kazimierz in 1660, who previously visited his observatory in 1659.Kwartalnik historii kultury materialnej , Tom 39, Instytut Historii Kultury Materialnej (Polska Akademia Nauk),page 159 1991 While the noble status was not ratified by the Polish Sejm Hevelius's coat of arms includes the distinctive Polish royal crown.On the 300th anniversary of the death of Johannes Hevelius: book of The International Scientific Session,Robert Glȩbocki, Andrzej Zbierski, International Scientific Session,Ossolineum, The Polish Academy of Sciences,page 56, 1992 The Polish King John III Sobieski who regularly visited Hevelius numerous times in years 1677-1683 released him from paying taxes connected to brewing and allowed his beer to be sold freely outside the city limits.Międzynarodowy Rok Heweliusza 1987: dokumentacja obchodów trzechsetnej rocznicy śmierci Jana Heweliusza (1687-1987),page 10,1990 Zakład Narodowy im Ossolińskich In May 1679 the young Englishman Edmond Halley visited him as emissary of the Royal Society, whose fellow Hevelius had been since 1664. The Royal Society considers him one of the first German fellows. Małgorzata Czerniakowska (2005) writes that "Jan Heweliusz was the first Pole to be inducted into the Royal Society in London. This important event took place on 19th March 1664." Hevelius considered himself as being citizen of the Polish world (civis Orbis Poloniae) and stated in a latter dated from 9 January 1681 that he was Civis orbis Poloni, qui in honorem patriae suae rei Literariae bono tot labores molestiasque, absit gloria, cum maximo facultatum suarum dispendio perduravit-"citizen of Polish world who, for glory of his country and for the good of science, worked so much, and while not boasting much, executed his work with most effort per his abilities"Rocznik gdański, Tom 65,Gdańskie Towarzystwo Naukowe, Wydział Nauk Społecznych i Humanistycznych,page 135, 2005Etudes d'histoire des sciences en Pologne: Choix d'articles par les rédacteurs, Aleksander Birkenmajer, Ossolineum,page 15, 1972

Halley had been instructed by Robert Hooke and John Flamsteed to persuade Hevelius to use telescopes for his measurements, yet Hevelius demonstrated that he could do well with only quadrant and alidade. He is thus considered the last astronomer to do major work without the use of a telescope. at Google Books

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