The astronomical illustrations interspersed with the various projections collected here indicate a growing popular awareness of the ideas reshaping the world. At top of this map, the heliocentric Copernican concept is flanked by the terracentric models advanced by Ptolemy and the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. The next row of illustrations shows detailed views of the planets, including the rings of Saturn, bands on the surface of Jupiter, and the topography of the faces of Mars and the Moon. Though the presence of alternate schemes of planetary movement suggests a still-open question, the overall composition suggests a consensus already formed. To the cognoscenti, careful telescopic observations could erase lingering doubt about the true scheme of the solar system. This informed view is supported by the diagram in the lower left corner, which shows the annual orbit of the Earth as the cause of alteration between the summer and winter sky. On the right, lunar phases are all shown in relation to a Sun that remains fixed in place.
The establishment of the observatories in London and Paris and the publication of Newton’s Principia were part of a larger shift in the locus of cartographic development, away from the Netherlands, and toward England and France. After several largely futile efforts to diminish the Dutch commercial advantage through blockade and invasion, the fragile alliance between the French and English had dissolved. Unable to rely on each other, or to suppress their common rival independently, both nations changed tack. Sharpening its division with Catholic France, Protestant England formed closer ties with the like-minded Dutch. Animated by this rivalry, both powers recognized that royal patronage of astronomy offered a path to fundamental advantage in war and commerce. The resulting effort would drive cartography through the peak of the Scientific Revolution.