Deutsches Museum (Munich) - Johannes Hevel

The Deutsches museum (German Museum) is located in the city of Munich, in the south of Germany. It lies on an island in the river Isar and is only accessible by means of bridges. The island is called Museuminsel, as there are several museums there. The stylish building was designed by Gabriel von Seidl and was brought into use from 1925. It is a huge museum with 8 floors and 300 rooms. There are unique master works of nature sciences, technology and transport, among other things like ships, engines and cars and in a building annexed to it, there are even old planes. The museum is with its 28,000 objects the largest one of its kind in the world. It gives an overview of 50 different branches of sciences. It is thus not astonishing that the museum receives about 1.5 million visitors every year.


Photo: Wikipedia (© Maximilian Kühn)
License: Creative Commons Sharealike 2.0 (cc-by-sa)


Item:“Selenographia sive lunae descriptio”

Pictures by courtesy of Deutsches Museum.


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.


Johannes Hevel


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.



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