Johannes Hevel 1611-1687
In the museum the work of a German-Polish
astronomer, known as Johannes Hevelius, can be admired. This
scientist was born in Danzig (now Gdansk) and studied in the
Netherlands, at the University of Leiden, and in the United
Kingdom and France. As from 1634 he went back to living in Danzig.
Hevelius built his own observatory in 1641
with his homemade telescopes. He even made a telescope which
was so large that it could not fit in the building. This telescope
was outside, in the field, hung on a hoist installation. The
length of this telescope was no less than 49 meters! He could
magnify the sky bodies about 30 - 40 times. It was however very
difficult to accurately aim the spyglass.
Johannes Hevel wrote several books concerning
his observations and the technical side of his instruments,
illustrated with engraved images. A striking book is from 1647
entitled “Selenographia sive lunae descriptio” or
“Atlas of the moon” – printed by Hünefeld
in Danzig. We show an illustration from this book.
It is remarkable that Hevel gives honour to God, by mentioning
his name Iehova in a quotation from Psalms 111:2: “Great
[are] the works of Jehovah, Sought out by all desiring them”
- Young's Literal Translation.
A detail from the right upper corner.
A large part of his books and instruments
were destroyed in a fire in 1679. He rebuilted his observatory
yet he nevered recovered from the loss of his life's work. He
died on his 76th birthday at Danzig.