According to the Polish Academy of Sciences (1975) the origin of the name goes back to the surname Hawke, a historical alternative spelling for the English word hawk, which changed into Hawelke or Hawelecke.
In Poland he is known as Jan Heweliusz,
According to Patrick MooreHevelius is a Latinised version of the name Hewelcke other versions of the name include Hewel, Hevel, Hevelke or Hoefel, Höwelcke, Höfelcke.
According to Feliks Bentkowski (1814) during his early years he also signed as Hoefelius, Ludwig Günther-Fürstenwalde (1903) reports, next to the usage of the Latinised version, Hevelius' signature as Johannes Höffelius Dantiscanus in 1631 and Hans Höwelcke in 1639.
The observatory was known by the name Sternenburg (Latin: Stellaeburgum; Polish: Gwiezdny Zamek) or "Star Castle".
This private observatory was visited by Polish Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga on 29 January 1660.
As a subject of the Polish kings, Hevelius enjoyed the patronage of four consecutive kings of Poland, and his family was raised to the position of nobility by the King of Poland Jan Kazimierz in 1660, who previously visited his observatory in 1659. While the noble status was not ratified by the Polish Sejm Hevelius's coat of arms includes the distinctive Polish royal crown.
The Polish KingJohn III Sobieski who regularly visited Hevelius numerous times in years 1677–1683 released him from paying taxes connected to brewing and allowed his beer to be sold freely outside the city limits. In May 1679 the young Englishman Edmond Halley visited him as emissary of the Royal Society, whose fellow Hevelius had been since 1664. The Royal Society considers him one of the first German fellows. Małgorzata Czerniakowska (2005) writes that "Jan Heweliusz was the first Pole to be inducted into the Royal Society in London. This important event took place on 19th March 1664". Hevelius considered himself as being citizen of the Polish world (civis Orbis Poloniae) and stated in a letter dated from 9 January 1681 that he was Civis orbis Poloni, qui in honorem patriae suae rei Literariae bono tot labores molestiasque, absit gloria, cum maximo facultatum suarum dispendio perduravit-"citizen of Polish world who, for glory of his country and for the good of science, worked so much, and while not boasting much, executed his work with most effort per his abilities"
Halley had been instructed by Robert Hooke and John Flamsteed to persuade Hevelius to use telescopes for his measurements, yet Hevelius demonstrated that he could do well with only quadrant and alidade. He is thus considered the last astronomer to do major work without the use of a telescope.
Katharine, his first wife, died in 1662, and a year later Hevelius married Elisabeth Koopmann, the young daughter of a merchant family. The couple had four children. Elisabeth supported him, published two of his works after his death, and is considered the first female astronomer.
Hevelius and second wife Elisabeth observing the sky with a brass sextant (1673).
His observatory, instruments and books were destroyed by fire on 26 September 1679. The catastrophe is described in the preface to his Annus climactericus (1685). He promptly repaired the damage enough to enable him to observe the great comet of December 1680. He named the constellation Sextans in memory of this lost instrument.
In late 1683, in commemoration of the victory of Christian forces led by Polish King John III Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna, he invented and named the constellation Scutum Sobiescianum (Sobieski's Shield), now called Scutum. This constellation first occurred publicly in his star atlas Firmamentum Sobiescianum, that was printed in his own house at lavish expense, and he himself engraved many of the printing plates.
His health had suffered from the shock of the 1679 fire and he died on his 76th birthday, 28 January 1687. Hevelius was buried in St. Catherine's Church in his hometown.
Descendants of Hevelius live in Urzędów in Poland where they support local astronomy enthusiasts.
De nativa Saturni facie ejusque varis Phasibus (1656)
Historiola Mirae (1662), in which he named the periodic variable star Omicron Ceti "Mira", or "the Wonderful"
Machina coelestis (first part, 1673), containing a description of his instruments; the second part (1679) is extremely rare, nearly the whole issue having perished in the conflagration of 1679. Hevelius description of his "naked eye" observation method in the first part of this work led to a dispute with Robert Hooke who claimed observations without telescopic sights were of little value.
Prodromus Astronomiae (c.1690) an unfinished work posthumously published by Johannes wife Catherina Elisabetha Koopman Hevelius in three books including:
Prodromus, preface and unpublished observations
Catalogus Stellarum Fixarum (dated 1687), catalog of 1564 stars
Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia (dated 1687), an atlas of constellations, 56 sheets, corresponding to his catalog, contains seven new constellations delineated by him which are still in use (plus some now considered obsolete):
^Hippolit Skimborowicz: Żywot i prace Jana Hewelinsza gdańszczanina żyjacego pod panowaniem czterech królów polskich, Warszawa 1860. OCLC253951432
^Kwartalnik historii kultury materialnej, Tom 39, Instytut Historii Kultury Materialnej 1991 (Polska Akademia Nauk), page 159.
^On the 300th anniversary of the death of Johannes Hevelius: book of The International Scientific Session, Robert Glȩbocki, Andrzej Zbierski, International Scientific Session, Ossolineum, The Polish Academy of Sciences, page 56, 1992.
^Międzynarodowy Rok Heweliusza 1987: dokumentacja obchodów trzechsetnej rocznicy śmierci Jana Heweliusza (1687-1987), page 10, 1990 Zakład Narodowy im Ossolińskich.