This page gathers various maps of the celestial sphere with primary focus on the constellation boundaries. Background information about constellation boundaries is available here.

Reproductions of the maps from Délimitation Scientifique des Constellations

The maps in this series attempt to reproduce those included in Eugène Delporte's Délimitation Scientifique des Constellations [1] as faithfully as practical.

The two maps below reproduce the large maps of the northern and southern hemispheres that conclude the book. They specify the coordinates of the constellation boundaries. They use azimuthal equidistant projections on tangent planes at the poles.

Northern Hemisphere Southern Hemisphere
Delporte Constellation Boundaries - Northern Hemisphere Delporte Constellation Boundaries - Southern Hemisphere

The twenty-six maps below reproduce the maps covering the celestial sphere, also included in Delporte's Atlas Céleste [2]. Felice Stoppa's site has images of the originals (see this example). I have used the stereographic projection onto the tangent plane to the celestial sphere at the center of the map from the opposite point. All the maps are drawn at the same scale, unlike the book's, where the ones centered at latitude ±50° and the ones centered at ±10° seem to use different scales (and even different scale factors along x and y). The equatorial coordinate system corresponds to the equinox of B1875.0.

The star set is the same as on these reference maps. It is based on the Bright Star Catalogue, with the positions taken from the Hipparcos catalog, adjusted to the B1875.0 epoch according to proper motion and precessed to the B1875.0 equinox.

Some variable stars are tagged with a var. label as in the originals. I have tagged the variable stars mentioned in the Atlas Céleste [2], but it turns out that they don't exactly match the ones tagged on Delporte's maps.

1N 2N 3N 4N 5N 6N 7N
1N 2N 3N 4N 5N 6N 7N
8N 9N 10N 11N 12N 13N
8N 9N 10N 11N 12N 13N
1S 2S 3S 4S 5S 6S 7S
1S 2S 3S 4S 5S 6S 7S
8S 9S 10S 11S 12S 13S
8S 9S 10S 11S 12S 13S

Variations on the Atlas Céleste maps

The maps below correspond one-to-one to the Atlas Céleste and Délimitation Scientifique des Constellations star maps, with an emphasis on the stars listed in the Atlas Céleste. The reference stars are grayed out and the Atlas Céleste stars are labeled and overlayed at their positions given in the Atlas Céleste as plain black circles for ordinary stars, dashed black circles for multiple stars, and underlined black circles for variable stars. The variable stars are represented according to their maximum magnitude. The nebulae and clusters mentioned in the Atlas Céleste are represented as yellow disks.

After correction of a handful of typos in the Atlas Céleste affecting ι Cyg, σ Cyg, β Pyx, ι Vir, and ι Leo (labeled ν Leo in one instance), the positions are mostly indistinguishable from the reference stars'.

Stars are identified by a Bayer letter, Flamsteed number, or Argelander variable star identifier (single or double capital letter). The stars HR 1035 and HR 6493 are labeled Cam 2H and Oph 27H respectively— I haven't figured out which catalog these identifiers correspond to.

Nebulae and clusters are identified either by a Bayer letter (such as ω Cen), a Messier number (such as M31), a Herschel number (such as VIII.75) referring to William Herschel's catalog of deep sky objects, or in only one case (265 Δ) a number from James Dunlop's Catalog of deep sky objects.

1N 2N 3N 4N 5N 6N 7N
1N 2N 3N 4N 5N 6N 7N
8N 9N 10N 11N 12N 13N
8N 9N 10N 11N 12N 13N
1S 2S 3S 4S 5S 6S 7S
1S 2S 3S 4S 5S 6S 7S
8S 9S 10S 11S 12S 13S
8S 9S 10S 11S 12S 13S

Color maps

These maps provide views of the celestial sphere in the six directions of the cartesian axes of the equatorial coordinate system.

North view South view Aries view Capricorn view Libra view Cancer view
North South Aries Capricorn Libra Cancer

References

[1] Eugène Delporte, Délimitation Scientifique des Constellations, Cambridge University Press, 1930.

[2] Eugène Delporte, Atlas Céleste, Cambridge University Press, 1930.


Acknowledgments.

  • This research has made use of the VizieR catalogue access tool, CDS, Strasbourg, France. The original description of the VizieR service was published in A&AS 143, 23.
  • This research has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France.