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The River Tigris as a constellation (Fig. 27.1) was introduced sometime in the first quarter of the seventeenth century. Ptolemy left the stars comprising this constellation unformed, although mostly acknowledged, and this tradition was kept as late as the time of Bayer (1603). The main body of the river in part paralleled the path of the “Great Rift” in the Milky Way, a layer of obscuring interstellar dust in the mid plane of the Galaxy stretching roughly from Cygnus to Centaurus. In this sense the identification of a constellation here is opposite the usual sense in which stars outline a figure; rather, Tigris followed a path suggested by the relative absence of stars. It is sometimes shown on maps as two-branched, reflecting the proper geographic sense of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates as they flow through lands referred to as the “Fertile Crescent.”


Star Cluster Interstellar Dust Ancient City Taurus Mountain Great Rift 
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TucsonUSA

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