The star catalog includes ecliptic and equatorial coordinates for 1,564 stars, about 600 of which were new. Johann and Elisabeth Hevelius based star positions on their own observations, supplemented by Edmond Halley’s catalog of southern stars.
Tragically, in 1679 the Hevelius observatory burned (see Annus Climacteris in the “Controversy over the Comets” gallery). Fire destroyed manuscripts, books and instruments, including the sextant. Johann was 67 years old, and passed away six years later. Over the next two years, Elisabeth restored the manuscripts, finished the star catalog and celestial star atlas, and saw them through publication. Although Johann regarded his wife as a colleague and astronomer in her own right, Elisabeth, perhaps out of deference to his memory, chose not to include her own name on the title pages of the three works contained in this volume.