Lacaille’s Fornax


Lacaille showed Fornax under the French name le Fourneau on his original 1756 planisphere. It consisted of a retort (a flask with a long neck) in which chemicals were heated over a fire, and a receiver to collect the products. This illustration comes from a copy of Lacaille’s planisphere published in the Atlas Céleste of Jean Fortin. Lacaille drew it with south at the top, whereas Bode in his Uranographia inverted the figure so that north is at the top.

The constellation’s name was Latinized to Fornax Chimiae on the second edition of Lacaille’s planisphere, published in 1763; for a zoomable version of that edition, see here. (Image © Ian Ridpath.)

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