Johannes Hevelius and his wife, Elisabeth Hevelius, are said to be the last astronomers to do major work with just a quadrant and alidade

Hevelius is particularly famous for his work “Selenographia” for which Hevelius devoted four years to charting the lunar surface. “Selenographia” was published in 1647 and features Hevelius’s discovery of the Moon’s libration in longitude. “Selenographia” makes Hevelius the founder of lunar topography.

The beautiful and detailed map of the moon made for “Selenographia” is available below.

An original copy of Hevelius’ “Selenographia” can be found in la Bibliothèque Nationale de France.


Elisabeth Hevelius’s passion for the skies and her husband’s work has earned Elisabeth the title of “the first female astronomer”.

Johannes Hevelius’s works: Prodromus astronomiae and Prodromus cometicus are both filled with superb constellation and cosmic map illustrations. We’ve selected the best and we’re certain that you’ll find Hevelius’s constellations mezmerising too.

Hevelius constructed his observatory in 1641, it was built on the rooftops of three linked houses he owned in Gdańsk.


Hevelius was wealthy from a successful family business and he chose to spend his inheritance on science. 


As he kept adding to his observatory, creating new devices, his observatory soon became famous and attracted esteemed visitors such as Edmond Halley, who predicted the return of the comet that bears his name, the Polish Queen Marie Gonzaga and Polish king Jan Kazimierz.

The observatory was such a delight to the Royals that Hevelius enjoyed the patronage of 4 consecutive Polish Kings.