Popular Astronomy

Star Maps

History, Artistry, and Cartography

Authors: Kanas, Nick

  • Unique images and legends from antiquarian celestial atlases and prints illustrate the text - more than 200 (76 in color).
  • Describes the development and relationships between different sky maps and atlases
  • Demonstrates contemporary cosmological ideas, constellation representations, and cartographic advances
  • Contains unique material on early American influences and collecting celestial maps and prints
  • Includes non-European constellation representations
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Buy this book

eBook $24.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-71669-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
About this book

This book traces the history of celestial cartography and relates this history to the changing ideas of man’s place in the universe and to advances in map-making. Photographs from actual antiquarian celestial atlases and prints, many previously unpublished, enrich the text, and a legend accompanies each illustration to explain its astronomical and cartographic features. Also included in the book are discussions of non-European celestial maps and chapters on early American influences and celestial map-collecting.

With the construction of the International Space Station, and new plans for manned missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond, there is renewed interest in the heavens. An ever-increasing number of people are fascinated with the science of space and are becoming amateur astronomers. Antiquarian map societies are prospering, and celestial maps are now viewed as a specialty of map collecting. The beauty and awe generated by the celestial void captures our imagination and delights our aesthetic sense.

About the authors

Nick Kanas, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He has been a member of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers since 1978 and has collected and researched antiquarian celestial books, atlases, and prints for nearly 25 years. He is a member of several map collector societies and has lectured on the history of celestial cartography at scientific and non-scientific meetings of organizations such as the Sydney (Australia) Observatory, the 20th International Conference on the History of Cartography, and the California Map Society. He also has written articles on this subject for a number of journals and magazines, including Sky & Telescope, Mercury, Imago Mundi, Mercator’s World, and the Journal of the International Map Collectors’ Society. Professor Kanas has written over 160 professional articles and 3 books, including, with D. Manzey, Space Psychology and Psychiatry (Kluwer/Springer, 2003), which won the 2004 International Academy of Astronautics Life Science Book Award. He also won Honorable Mention in the 2006 Boeing/Griffith Observer Science Writing Contest for his astronomy article on "Sacrobosco's De Sphaera" (which was published in the astronomy magazine Griffith Observer, sponsored by the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles).

Reviews

From the reviews:

"Lucky me. I just received Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography by Nick Kanas (Springer, 2007). This is one thorough and highly illustrated book! … In addition to numerous black-and-white illustrations, three sections (totaling 76 pages) reproduces star maps in color. Several appendices and a glossary round out this terrific book. If you’re interested in acquiring some of the magnificent maps Kanas describes, be sure to read Appendix A, ‘Collecting celestial maps and prints.’" (Michael Bakich, Astronomy Magazine, November, 2007)

"This work will undoubtedly become a standard reference work for this study. … this is an extraordinary book at a very reasonable price by one of our own members who is a world class observer and a highly skilled writer. I’m sure you will enjoy reading it. … Well done, Nick. Your efforts will be appreciated for many years to come." (Bill Warren, California Map Society Newsletter, Vol. 2K+7 (4), 2007)

"This California psychiatry professor has poured decades of personal fascination with old star maps into a comprehensive survey, which goes from antiquity through the 20th century. … More than 200 illustrations, 76 in color, are nicely presented for a book of modest … format. … An appendix contains wise advice for anyone collecting antiquarian star maps." (Roger Sinnott, Sky & Telescope, March, 2008)

"Today’s interplanetary probes and space stations make it easy to overlook that it all began by simply looking up at the sky and charting the stars. … As you might expect in a book on maps, the many illustrations (76 in colour) are well reproduced … . In the forward, Norman Thrower (UCLA) opines that this work will become ‘an important reference work’ for those interested in the history of stellar cartography. I heartily agree. It’s a thumping good read too!" (Steve Ringwood, Astronomy Now, March, 2008)

"Dr. Kanas is the author of a wonderful book: Star Maps … . His enthusiasm leaps from every page of this detailed investigation of the development of celestial prints and star atlases. It chronicles attempts to chart the stars from ancient times to today. … As well as exploring the changing equipment in astronomy and cartography, the book covers the philosophies and personalities that saw star charts develop from images of gods and animals into the more scientific … maps in use today." (www.astronomy.com, February, 2008)

"Nick Kanas, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco who clearly loves antique star maps, has written a wonderfully attractive and informative book for collectors and aficionados. … Readers will certainly appreciate the many illustrations in this book, a good number of them in full color." (Deborah Jean Warner, The Portolan, Spring, 2008)

"The book is profusely illustrated, with some charts in color. It includes mapping of the 48 constellations that were listed by Ptolemy in classic times and are still retained … . Kanas charts the sky models of the classical, medieval, and modern arrangements of the solar and stellar systems throughout recorded history, and their rationales. Because this volume covers much of astronomy before the physics of Newton and others, it is well recommended for most libraries. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty." (A. R. Upgren, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (7), 2008)

"In this book Dr Nick Kanas has provided a comprehensive guide which should help collectors, librarians and historians through this difficult but rewarding subject. … This book covers an important division of the history of science and of mapping, and on the whole it does it very well. … a book that will rightly take its place as a useful reference source for anyone concerned with the history of celestial mapping." (Peter Whitfield, IMCoS Journal, Spring, 2008)

"We … have in this comprehensive book by Kanas, a new and timely source for context and guidance on the full scope of celestial imagery. … a primer on the history of astronomy for a print collector drawn to the celestial domain, as well as a practical guide to the identification and understanding of these attractive maps and charts. … Kanas’s book is an important compendium of celestial imagery. … And it is reasonably priced." (Michael Mendillo, Imago Mundi, Vol. 60 (2), 2008)

"Nick Kanas, is an avid collector of celestial maps and charts. He has taken his many years of collecting expertise and condensed it into a marvellous book on this fascinating aspect of enjoying the night sky. His book is filled with 207 colour and black-and-white images of celestial maps from all ages. … very easy to follow and a real joy to read. … I highly recommend this book to students of the history of astronomy or anyone interested in observing the night sky." (Robert A. Garfinkle, The Observatory, Vol. 128 (1205), August, 2008)

"Star Maps is perhaps the most comprehensive treatment of astronomical cartography since ... 1932. Star Maps is a 380-plus page, inch-thick slab of well-written information. ... Throughout, the book is well illustrated with monochrome photographs accompanying the description of individual publications and topics. ... In summary, Prof. Kanas has produced a superb addition for the library of anyone interested in the history of astronomy. Star Maps is likely to become the standard reference on astronomical cartography for many years hence." (Kevin Kilburn, SHA Newsletter, Issue 17, October, 2008)


Table of contents (10 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $24.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-71669-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Star Maps
Book Subtitle
History, Artistry, and Cartography
Authors
Series Title
Popular Astronomy
Copyright
2007
Publisher
Praxis
Copyright Holder
Praxis
eBook ISBN
978-0-387-71669-5
DOI
10.1007/978-0-387-71669-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXXII, 382
Number of Illustrations and Tables
131 b/w illustrations, 76 illustrations in colour
Additional Information
Jointly published with Praxis Publishing
Topics