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They are used to identify and locate astronomical objects such as stars, constellations and galaxies.They have been used for human navigation since time immemorial.Several other such maps were produced, including Johann Bayer's Uranometria in 1603.The latter was the first atlas to chart both celestial hemispheres and it introduced the Bayer designations for identifying the brightest stars using the Greek alphabet.In Muslim astronomy, the first star chart to be drawn accurately was most likely the illustrations produced by the Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi in his 964 work titled Book of Fixed Stars.This book was an update of parts VII.5 and VIII.1 of the 2nd century Almagest star catalogue by Ptolemy.The work of al-Sufi contained illustrations of the constellations and portrayed the brighter stars as dots.The original book did not survive, but a copy from about 1009 is preserved at the Oxford University.

Their compilations resulted in the 1601 globe of Jodocus Hondius, who added 12 new southern constellations.The Farnese Atlas is a 2nd-century copy of a Hellenistic era statue depicting the Titan Atlas holding the celestial sphere on his shoulder.It is the oldest surviving depiction of the ancient Greek constellations, and includes grid circles that provide coordinate positions.This may have served as a prototype for the oldest European printed star chart, a 1515 set of woodcut portraits produced by Albrecht Dürer in Nuremberg, Germany.During the European Age of Discovery, expeditions to the southern hemisphere began to result in the addition of new constellations.

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