Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Astronomy/Constellations Task Force

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< Wikipedia:WikiProject Astronomy/Constellations Task Force

WikiProject Astronomy / Constellations  (Rated Project-class)
WikiProject icon Wikipedia:WikiProject Astronomy/Constellations Task Force is within the scope of WikiProject Astronomy, which collaborates on articles related to Astronomy on Wikipedia.
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This page is supported by the Constellations taskforce, which collaborates on articles related to the constellations.

Hemispheres star maps?[edit]

Proposal: Two Hemispheres star maps for finding constellations? Preferrably SVG:s which are used using the tech used for the {{star nav}} template. Said: Rursus 19:02, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

This is a good idea. The constellation maps are almost exclusively from the persective of the Northern Hemisphere, and a Southern Hemisphere perspective is needed. These maps may need to be "north on top" and "south on top" as needed.
An exception to this rule may apply to circumpolar constellations that are not generally visible from the opposite hemisphere. When constellations like Cassiopeia and Crux are at their highest in the sky, the celestial pole is below the constellation, so the best map to use is one with the opposite pole pointing up. In particular, the Cassiopeia map shows the constellation at lower culmination, or the lowest point in the sky. This is not consistent with most other constellation maps. Thus, two maps may be useful to show different orientations.
But do we only need two maps? A case can be made for having four to show the different orientations as seen from the Equator or during different seasons. If this is done, the maps would need to be placed in a different place on the page (such as in a standalone box near the top), as they would not fit well into the constellation infobox. --B.d.mills 01:34, 14 June 2007 (UTC)


Prio column and some reasonable values added. Said: Rursus 21:19, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

First draft of possible replacement template[edit]

I have created a first draft of a replacement template for Template:Infobox Constellation at User:Dr. Submillimeter/Sandbox. I'm currently not 100% satisfied with the infobox, but I would like to bring it forward for discussion.

Among the changes in the proposed infobox:

  • Some of the terms with vague names (e.g. "bright stars") were removed. Also, "stars with extrasolar planets" was removed, as this is expected to be difficult to keep up-to-date.
  • The material was organized into sections with titles. However, I am not yet satisfied with the section names.
  • Some of the language regarding visibility was changed. I also recommend stating the visibility during a season rather than during a specific month and stating it for the whole evening rather than a specific time (9:00 pm).

Additional comments are welcome. (I'm not yet satisfied with it myself.)Dr. Submillimeter 16:38, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

It's good, except I'm a little unsure that meteorshowers actually should remain there. As much as I've seen on other templates, lists are hard to implement and handle. The bordering constellations is such a list that may remain for a while but later on be replaced by a special image setup similar to the one in {{Template:Star nav}}. I'll soon make a demo here. Said: Rursus 14:15, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I was a little uncertain about keeping the meteor shower list myself. I am willing to remove that. Let's see if anyone else comments.
I think simply using images for the constellations would be better than using navigation templates. Images can be updated more easily by other users, whereas navigation maps cannot. (You would also need to create 88 navigation templates.) Also, many users (like me) click on the image in the infobox to view the image itself, not to navigate. Maybe keeping a list of adjacent constellations in the infobox and a navigation map in the body of the text would be appropriate. Dr. Submillimeter 14:52, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
  • it's necessary that such templates are few (much less than 88), instead I'll have to invent some variant of the Template:Image_label_begin that adapts to constructing a clickable map easily - but it will take some time of raw cleaning of the constellations before I'll even consider it,
  • by the nature of Template:Image_label_begin clicking on most parts of the image still leads to the image page itself,
On the other hand:
  • redimensioning a constellation image, requires coordinate updates for the link texts on the image,
So I'll do something else before, and then we'll see. Said: Rursus 20:38, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
On second thoughts: you're right regarding what image is reached by clicking such a navigable map. Said: Rursus 18:52, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
The demo has two problems:
  • If I click somewhere other than the links, I go to File:Andromeda constellation map (1).png
  • The image contains two sets of labels (although presumably label-free versions of the images can be created.
I still suggest leaving this out of the infobox for now. Dr. Submillimeter 22:12, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Other matters are much more important. Said: Rursus 11:07, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
My thoughts on the changes:
  • Meteor Showers could be moved to the body of the text, as not all constellations have meteor showers.
  • I introduced the "9 pm" guideline for "best visibility" to provide a standard and made corrections as needed. Before I did this, best visibility had no precise definition and several of the constellations had best visibility that was out by a month or two. I don't mind seeing it replaced by something more comprehensive such as a table of times and dates. "Best visibility" would work best as a separate table with a list of times and dates. Best visibility would also need to be defined precisely as the upper culmination of the centre of the constellation. The best visibility coverage may need to provide dates for all 24 hours.
  • Visibility must not use seasonal references. That is in contravention of Wikipedia's goal of countering systemic bias.
  • "Bright stars" and "main stars" are both vague terms. We need something more precise, such as "stars with an average brightness that is brighter than magnitude 3.00" or some similar definition that would allow others to count the stars in other constellations using the same criterion. This could also work if a website with pancelestial coverage was used as a reference. (I suggest that we use magnitude 3 as the limit because that is the limiting manitude from many urban locations.)
--B.d.mills 01:51, 14 June 2007 (UTC)


The mythology sections for the constellations is strongly Eurocentric. It implies that only Europeans had constellation mythology, which is certainly not the case.

It would be useful to have some discussion of the following mythologies if such information exists - this list is just a sample and is not complete by any means:

  • Arabic (they gave us many of our star names)
  • Chinese
  • Native American
  • Other Pre-Columbian cultures from the Americas
  • Polynesian
  • Indigenous Australian

Such mythological discussion would be especially useful for fleshing out the Southern hemisphere constellations, which in some cases make the false assertion "no mythology exists for these because they were unknown from Europe".

A caveat: different peoples would have divided the sky up differently to the modern constellations. Thus, such mythology may be spread over several constellations. For example, the Magellanic Clouds are divided into three modern constellations but were considered as a part of a single myth by many Indigenous Australian groups. Often the Magellanic Clouds were seen as two people that shared some kin relationship - siblings, a couple, etc. -- B.D.Mills  (T, C) 00:26, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

I take issue with the aggrieved tone of the previous writer, and point out certain factual errors.
The writer calls for alternate "mythologies if such information exists," implying that he doesn't actually know of any specifics, but assumes that (a) they exist, and (b) they are being suppressed. There is a hint of paranoia in this.
The mythology is not "Eurocentric," but "Mediterranean." In the list of cultures, he calls for Arabic mythologies, rightly pointing out that the majority of star names are Arabic in origin. But those very star names, Alpheratz, Deneb, Fomalhut, Hamal, Rigel, etc, etc, indicate that that the mythology on the south shore of the Mediterranean was essentially the same as that of the north shore. The names are, overwhelmingly, discriptions of the positions of the stars within the Ptolemaic figuration of the constellations.
The peeved complaint that "[s]uch mythological discussion would be especially useful for fleshing out the Southern hemisphere constellations, which in some cases make the false assertion 'no mythology exists for these because they were unknown from Europe,'" misses the point. Let us take Telescopium, for example. Whatever Southern Hemisphere mythologies might be connected with this constellation, they are certainly not as a Telescope.
Now having said all that, I would certainly urge anyone with knowledge of, say a Maori myth centered on, to use my example, Telescopium, to write it up and add it to the article. Further, there is already an article about Chinese constellations which could well be expanded.
B00P (talk) 08:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Eurocentric absolutely. All fixups are very welcome! But mostly this eurocentrism is caused by the availability of sources, and the fact that the constellations currently used are defined by a Latin-speaking culture from 1600-1800, and earlier a Greek culture from 300 BC to 200 AD. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 13:59, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Constellation-like sky features[edit]

Should this project also cover the constellation-like features of the night sky that have comparable mythological associations? For example, the Milky Way (the band of light, not the galaxy), and the Man in the Moon and similar pareidolias.--Pharos 22:48, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

"X" in fiction section[edit]

for example, "Lyra in Fiction"--is starting to look like a trivia section in all but name. In the specific case of Lyra in Fiction, there are about 6 or so items, only two of which have anything to do with the constellation. Do we need a Lyra in Fiction section, and if so, should the items having nothing to do with the constellation be there?Todd 22:19, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps creating "X in fiction" articles, and transferring such items there, might be the solution. Such an article exists for α Lyr: "Vega in fiction." B00P (talk) 08:26, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Protecting these pages[edit]

Hi, guys. We haven't spoken before but you may have noticed that I have been on vandalism-watch recently on the constellations pages. My question to you all is this: do you think we should consider protecting these pages, and similar ones about stars and other deep-sky objects, to prevent unregistered users from abusing them? The reason I ask is that GoogleSky now has links to these pages. GoogleSky is a brilliant piece of work and is (quite rightly) being promoted as an educational tool. The obvious place for it to link to is Wikpedia. However, I don't think that schools and similar establishments would be too impressed to discover that Sky is linking to pages with bad information or profanity. Wikimapia has a registration period within which you can't make immediate changes. I read that the German Wikipedia is introducing such a scheme too. For the future of the Wikipedia astronomy pages, I'd like to see something similar introduced here. What do you think? Skeptic2 23:18, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Agree--Todd 17:28, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Todd. And I might have added that, as more people are directed to these pages by GoogleSky, the number of potential vandals increases. Question is: how do we do it? Skeptic2 19:29, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Constellation maps obscuring category contents[edit]

I don't know if it's just on my browser, but in Orion and Cygnus (the only two I checked), not the articles but the categories, the constellation map obscures part of the category listing. I also don't know how to fix that.--Todd 23:25, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

parent wikiproject[edit]

Shouldn't the parent wikiproject be Wikipedia: WikiProject Astronomical objects, since the old WikiProject Constellations was merged into Astronomical Objects? (talk) 23:31, 22 November 2007 (UTC)


Please see the discussion in the above link (I want to keep it in one place) -- Cat chi? 19:35, 24 December 2007 (UTC)


Therion (constellation) should be created as a redirect to Lupus (constellation) (talk) 23:13, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, yes. I think so. I've never heard about Therion, but if you've tried to find Therion (constellation), then this redirect page should exist. The name Therion makes sense, since it is greek for Beast, and Lupus was originally not defined as Canis lupis on heaven, but just a beast, that the kentaur Centaurus intended to sacrifice, maybe on Ara, the altar. I'll create this redirect for you now. Said: Rursus 13:00, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Notable Features[edit]

I was thinking of splittin the Notable Features subheading by brightnes. eg. Magnitude 4 and above, Magnitude 8 to 4, Magnitude 16 to 8, Faint objects.These would roughly translate to visible to the naked eye (in a moderately light polluted sky), visible with binoculars, visible with a portable telescope, proffesional observatory required. I think it would be useful for amateur astronomers wishing to view objects within specific constellations.

On a related note, should I go ahead and add extra-solar planets on the relevant constellation pages? It's not exactly useful to amateur astronomers, but is of academic interest. I could either list the stars under the appropriate magnitude, or give an entire subheading for extra-solar planets (bearing in mind that there won't be more than five for any given constellation).

Any thought / suggestions? Conrad Leviston (talk) 05:43, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I tend to advocate for completeness, and certainly agree that non-solar planets be included, at least for now. Once the Kepler and Planet Finder missions start reporting in around four years from now it will probably be impossible to keep up, but until then, keep it. As for grouping magnitude categories, that seems like excessive hair splitting. But it can be useful to some people.Tham153 (talk) 17:50, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree to completeness - amateurs, like everybody else, learn the constellations from a "myth" (whether a real myth or a story about astronomer Abbé Lacaille travelling to South Africa), and star patterns, where details makes sense and adds to the "culture" of the constellation. Observability is important but not obligatory, important discoveries and astronomical "freak stars" also add upto the "culture" of the constellation. However: astrology is annoying, since it is a science competing "star religion", and science has it's own "mythology" and heroes, such as Galileo, Newton and Einstein. Said: Rursus 13:12, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

International Constellation Conference[edit]

What is the "International Constellation Conference" mentioned in the entry? Is this a joke? Skeptic2 22:10, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

I couldn't find it. I believe it is some kind of misconception. IAU can't be involved here, since their site list pronunciations that seem to be partially adhering to Covington's article (but see Aries!) linked in that page. They don't recommend anything however.
Said: Rursus 05:26, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

star etymologies[edit]

Several years ago I worked out the etymologies of the stars that I could, including the original Arabic, Chinese, or Greek, but that info has been moved to the talk pages with the comment that it should be added to the individual star articles. I made a start at that, but only got through a few major constellations—I'd already put a lot of time into this, and was tired of it. If each member of this task force could follow up with one major or half a dozen minor constellations, we would clear this up fairly quickly. kwami (talk) 21:11, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Reassessment of Leo (constellation)[edit]

I requested a GAR for the Leo (constellation) article: Talk:Leo (constellation)/GA1. Please take a moment to comment. Thank you.—RJH (talk) 20:56, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

things in constellations[edit]

Perhaps it's time to create an

Category:Astronomical object by constellation heirarchy, and subcategorize the constellation categories by object type?

With more and more stars and galaxies having articles and being placed into the IAU constellation categories, it may be a good idea at some point. (talk) 05:41, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Nearest stars[edit]

Hi, I have been changing the nearest stars in some of the constellation articles.

I have edited the "nearest star" in a constellation's infobox if I found a nearer star in the List of nearest stars. Then I started going though the RECONS list of the 100 nearest star systems doing the same thing. I am finding the constellation for each star in the RECONS list by querying via this page. I got up to system 61 in the RECONS list and decided I should stop and explain what I was doing. --Cam (talk) 02:51, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Roman 4 constellations in Hydra?[edit]

John Sandford claims the following in "Observing the Constellations" (ISBN 0-85533-748-6) about Hydra:

In Roman times it was divided into four parts.

Which would have been very practical, indeed, but I've found no support whatsoever for this statement. Is it true, or a garble up of Roman, vs. modern Latin age, having Felis and Turdus Solitarius in parts of Hydra? ... said: Rursus (bork²) 14:07, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Lists of named stars by constellation[edit]

See Category:List of the star names by constellation ; these list articles seem to be in need of help, since they're built like a name dictionary, and in current form would be more suitable to be transwikied to Wiktionary instead of being articles here... (talk) 11:30, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

TfD nomination of Template:ConstellationsByBartsch[edit]

Template:ConstellationsByBartsch has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for Deletion page. Please have your say! Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 09:22, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Reorganisation of space WikiProjects[edit]

There is a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Space/2010 Reorganisation regarding the future of WikiProject Space and its child projects. The discussion is aimed at defining the roles of projects, and improving the activity and coordination of the projects. The input of members of this project is requested as it is one which may be affected by the issue. --GW 22:31, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

"Western" and "Eastern" constellations[edit]

See WT:AST for a discussion about division of constellations by right ascension... (and not by tradition or geographic/cultural origin) (talk) 04:24, 27 March 2012 (UTC)


file:XingXiu(2).png has been nominated for deletion -- (talk) 07:51, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

What to work on....[edit]

Thought this might be the best place to discuss...been scared off Cygnus (constellation) as it is just soooo big! Have been buffing Pegasus (constellation) as it is of similar size to Andromeda and would be good to do that whole portion of the sky...but got a bit bored and stuck into Canis Major instead (lots of fun supergiants to write about). The obscure constellations are taking a very long time to get through FAC, so umming and aahing about doing more, though will push through ones that are through GA or nominated there (Musca and Grus (constellation). @Keilana: worked on Bootes a while ago, and maybe we should try and shove that over a GA line at least. Keilana let us know if you wanna do anything starry. and I guess @StringTheory11: you wanna buff Caelum for FAC...? So will give it a look over. Canis Major and Pegasus could do with some help in history/mythology mainly as well as other sections. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 01:43, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, Cygnus will be a huge job; might be the second most interesting constellation in the entire sky, after Sagittarius. For Caelum, I'm honestly kind of stuck on what to do on's such a barren constellation that there really isn't much more that I can write about. I'll probably submit it for PR soon. StringTheory11 (t • c) 02:27, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I can see a little bit of fiddling. I like sticking spectral types in as they are more exacting than just colours or sizes. Might be some navigation stuff too from guidebooks etc. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:18, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I'll see if I can do anything - I've been caught up in school and real life issues but starry myth-y things are definitely hanging out on my to-do list, just waiting for a quiet library day. :) Keilana|Parlez ici 06:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Alright - all input on Canis Major appreciated - bit worried about the history/mythology section currently. Also haven't started on the Deep-sky objects section really yet. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:16, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Right, @Keilana: and thinking Ursa Minor - something well-known but not much in it so should be a good buff for GA/FA..and in a pretty average state currently....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 08:54, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm currently working on Serpens, which has a lot of interesting stuff and will take a while, but I'll try to pitch in at Ursa Minor as well. StringTheory11 (t • c) 17:17, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
Whoa - didn't notice that - will pitch in. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:21, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

"Proper names" for stars[edit]

FYI, there's a discussion going on at Talk:List_of_brightest_stars#Proper_name that may impact on usage of proper names of stars. -- (talk) 05:00, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Cultural and Historical Asterisms and Constellations, and the Heredity of Constellations[edit]

Hi, I'd like to help with collecting cultural asterisms and constellations as well as creating a heredity, if you will, that documents the works thats scholars documented the constellations and their evolution. While doing this, improve all the timelines and constellation endonym pages. Nebulösschwarzfahrer (talk) 06:29, 11 November 2014 (UTC)