Man’s imagination has from ancient times made star-pictures out of easily recognizable groupings of stars (Fig. 2.1). In the northern sky we easily recognize the Great Bear (Plough). We find the Polestar if we produce the line joining the two brightest stars of the Great Bear by about five times its length. The Polestar is the brightest star in the Little Bear; if we extend the line past it to about the same distance on the other side, we come to the “W” of Cassiopeia. With the help of a celestial globe or a star-map, other constellations are easily found. In 1603, J. Bayer in his Uranometria novadenoted the stars in each constellation in a generally decreasing order of brightness as α, β, γ …. Nowadays these Greek letters are supplemented by the numbering introduced by the first Astronomer Royal,J. Flamsteed,in his Historia Coelestis Britannica(1725).The Latin names of the constellations are usually abbreviated to three letters.
KeywordsGeographical Latitude Bright Star Sidereal Time Geographical Longitude Celestial Pole
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
Histories of Astronomy
- Abetti, G The history of astronomy. London: Sidgwick and Jackson 1954. Google Scholar
- Berry, A A short history of astronomy. New York: Dover 1961. Google Scholar
- King, H. C.: The history of the telescope. London: Griffin 1955.Google Scholar
- — Exploration of the universe London: Secker Warburg 1964.Google Scholar
- Pannekoek, A.: A history of astronomy. New York: Signet Science Library 1964 also London: Allen Unwin 1961.Google Scholar
- Struve, O., and V. Zebergs: Astronomy of the 20th century. New York-London: Macmillan 1962.Google Scholar