A Plan of the Solar System exhibiting its relative Magnitudes and Distances.
1856 (undated) 15.5 x 27.5 in (39.37 x 69.85 cm)
This rare 1856 map or chart by Elijah Burritt illustrates the plan of the Solar System and the relative magnitude and distances of the primary planets. It shows the primary planets in relation to one another both with regard to magnitude and distance from the sun. The chart includes two sub charts detailing the inclination of the orbits of the several primary planets to the plane of the Ecliptic and the distances of the satellites from their several primaries. This map was issued as plate no. I in the Mason Brother's 1856 edition of Atlas, Designed to Illustrate Burritt's Geography of the Heavens.
Elijah Burritt and F. J. Huntington produced their important Burritt's Geography of the Heavens out of their offices in Hartford, Connecticut, from approximately 1833 to 1856. The work, while primarily educational in nature, was the seminal American geography of the period. Much of the nomenclature they developed, especially regarding the visible stars and constellations of the Southern Hemisphere, is still in use today. The Atlas itself consisted of eight charts depicting the Heavens seasonally and hemispherically. Constellations were depicted figurally though only the most important stars were noted. The Geography of the Heavens was the last decorative Celestial reference in the 19th century. Burrit's Geography was among the most prized possessions of fantasy / horror writer H.P. Lovecraft who wrote:
"My maternal grandmother, who died when I was six, was a devoted lover of astronomy, having made that a specialty at Lapham Seminary, where she was educated; and though she never personally showed me the beauties of the skies, it is to her excellent but somewhat obsolete collection of astronomical books that I owe my affection for celestial science. Her copy of Burritt's Geography of the Heavens is today the most prized volume in my library." (to Maurice W. Moe, 1 January 1915)
As a side note Elijah Burritt is the brother of the more famous Elihu Burritt, who was known for his philanthropic and social work.
Brothers Mason, Atlas, Designed to Illustrate Burritt's Geography of the Heavens, New York, 1856.
Very good. Minor wear along original centerfold. Overall age toning and some spotting here and there. Some offsetting. Lower margin exhibits minor damp stains near centerfold.
Rumsey 2853.001 (1835 edition). Kidwell, Peggy Aldrich, Elijah Burritt and the 'Geography of the Heavens.', Sky & Telescope 69 (Jan 1985).