Former constellations

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The former constellation Argo Navis
Gladii Saxonici from 1684 Acta Eruditorum

Former constellations are old historical western constellations that for various reasons are no longer recognized or adopted as official constellations by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).[1] Prior to 1930, many of these defunct constellations were traditionally identified by one or more countries or cultures. Some only lasted several decades but others continued over many centuries. All are now only recognised for having classical or historical value.[2] Many former constellations have had complex Latinised names assigned as objects, people, or as mythological or zoological creatures.[2] Others with unwieldy names were foreshortened for the sake of practical convenience. e.g. Scutum Sobiescianum reduced to Scutum, Mons Mensae to Mensa or Apparatus Sculptoris to Sculptor.

Some of the northern sky's former constellations were often placed in the less populated stellar regions between the traditional brighter constellations just to fill any unassigned gaps. In the southern skies, new constellations were often created from about the 15th Century by voyagers who began journeying south of the equator. European countries like England, France, the Netherlands, German or Italian states, etc., often supported and popularised their own constellation outlines. In some cases, differing constellations occupied areas using the same shared stars. Most of these former constellations can often be found mentioned in older books, star charts or star catalogues.

Standardisation of all the modern eighty-eight constellations names and boundaries was finally made by Eugene Delporte for the IAU in 1930, under a ratified international agreement, successfully removing any possible astronomical ambiguities between the nations.[3] Nearly all former or defunct constellations mostly differ in their designated boundaries inasmuch as they have outlines that do not follow the exacting defined lines of right ascension and declination.[4]

Noteworthy former constellations[edit]

Argo Navis[edit]

Argo Navis is the only constellation from Ptolemy's original list of 48 constellations that is no longer officially recognized. Due to its large size, it was split into three constellations by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille: Carina (the keel), Puppis (the poop deck), and Vela (the sails).[5] This new version was introduced in the 1763 star catalog Coelum Australe Stelliferum, which was published soon after de Lacaille's death.

Quadrans Muralis[edit]

Quadrans Muralis was originally created in 1795, being placed in the northern skies between the now modern accepted constellations Boötes and Draco. The Quadrantids meteor shower is still named after this former constellation.

Remnant nomenclature[edit]

List of former constellations[edit]

Name Pronunciation Meaning Date created Created by
Anguilla /æŋˈɡwɪlə/ Eel 1754 John Hill
Antinous /ænˈtɪnəs/ Antinous 132 Emperor Hadrian[7]
Apes Bees (renamed to Vespa, then Lilium, then to Musca Borealis) 1612 Petrus Plancius
Apis /ˈpɪs/ Bee (obsolete name and renamed to Musca Australis, and then shortened to Musca) 1598 Petrus Plancius
Aranea /əˈrniə/ Long-Legged Spider 1754 John Hill
Argo Navis /ˈɑːrɡ ˈnvɪs/ The Ship Argo (now divided into Carina, Puppis, and Vela) 2nd century Claudius Ptolemy
Asselli and Praesepe Dionysus's Asses (Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis) and Manger (Beehive Cluster) 3rd century BC Aratus[8][9]
Asterion and Chara Northern and Southern Dogs in Canes Venatici 1690 Johannes Hevelius.[10]
Battery of Volta Battery 1807 Thomas Young
Bufo /ˈbjuːf/ Toad 1754 John Hill
Cancer Minor /ˈkænsərˈmnər/ Lesser Crab 1613 Petrus Plancius
Capra and Haedi Goat Amalthea (stars surrounding Capella) and the Kids (Haedus I and Haedus II) 3rd century BC Aratus[11]
Cerberus /ˈsɜːrbərəs/ Cerberus (guardian dog of Hades) 1690 Johannes Hevelius
Cor Caroli Regis Martyris Charles's Heart 1673 Charles Scarborough[citation needed]
Corona Firmiana Corona Borealis renamed to honor Count Leopold Anton von Firmian 1730 Corbinianus Thomas
Custos Messium /ˈkʌstɒs ˈmɛʃiəm/ Keeper of harvests 1775 Jérôme Lalande[12]
Deltoton Delta (obsolete name for Triangulum Boreale) 1540 Petrus Apianus[13]
Dentalium /dɛnˈtliəm/ Tooth Shell 1754 John Hill
Felis /ˈflɪs/ Cat 1799 Jérôme Lalande
Frederici Honores /frɛdəˈrs hɒˈnɔːrz/ Frederick's Honors 1787 Johann Elert Bode[14]
Gallus /ˈɡæləs/ Rooster 1613 Petrus Plancius
Gladii Electorales Saxonici Crossed Swords of the Electorate of Saxony 1684 Gottfried Kirch
Globus Aerostaticus /ˈɡlbəs ˌɛərəˈstætɪkəs/ Hot air balloon 1798 Jérôme Lalande[15]
Gryphites /ɡrɪˈftz/ Gryphaea shellfish 1754 John Hill
Hippocampus /hɪpəˈkæmpəs/ Sea Horse 1754 John Hill
Hirudo /hɪˈrd/ Leech 1754 John Hill
Jordanus /ɔːrˈdnəs/ River Jordan 1613 Petrus Plancius
Leo Palatinus Lion to honor the Elector Palatine Charles Theodore and his wife Elisabeth Auguste 1785 Karl-Joseph König
Lochium Funis /ˈlɒkiəm ˈfjuːnɪs/ Log line (renamed to Linea Nautica in 1888 by Eliza A. Bowen[16]) 1801 Johann Elert Bode[17]
Lilium /ˈlɪliəm/ Fleur de Lys (renamed Musca Borealis) 1679 Augustin Royer/P. Anthelme
Limax /ˈlmæks/ Slug 1754 John Hill
Linum Piscium The line connecting the fish (renamed from Linum Austrinum and Linum Boreum by Bode in 1801; known as Lineola too) 1590 Thomas Hood
Lumbricus /lʌmˈbrkəs/ Earthworm 1754 John Hill
Machina Electrica /ˈmækɪnə ɪˈlɛktrɪkə/ Electricity generator 1800 Johann Elert Bode[18]
Malus /ˈmləs/ Mast 1844 John Herschel
Manis /ˈmnɪs/ Pangolin 1754 John Hill
Marmor Sculptile Bust of Columbus 1810 William Croswell
Mons Maenalus /ˈmɒnz ˈmɛnələs/ Mount Mainalo 1690 Johannes Hevelius[19]
Musca Borealis /ˈmʌskə bɔːriˈlɪs/ Northern Fly 1690 Johannes Hevelius
Noctua /ˈnɒktjuə/ Owl 1822 Alexander Jamieson
Nubecula Major and Nubecula Minor[citation needed] Magellanic Clouds 1603 Johann Bayer
Officina Typographica /ˌɒfɪˈsnə tpəˈɡræfɪkə/ Printshop 1801 Johann Elert Bode[20]
Patella /pəˈtɛlə/ Limpet 1754 John Hill
Phoenicopterus /ˌfɛnəˈkɒptərəs/ Flamingo (an obsolete name for Grus) early 17th century[21] Petrus Plancius/Paul Merula
Pinna Marina /ˈpɪnə məˈrnə/ Mussel 1754 John Hill
Piscis Notus Southern Fish (obsolete name for Piscis Austrinus) 3rd century BC Aratus
Polophylax /pəˈlɒfɪlæks/ Guardian of the Pole 1592 Petrus Plancius
Pomum Imperiale Leopold's orb 1688 Gottfried Kirch
Phaethon Phaethon Middle Ages Aratus/Hyginus
Pluteum Parapet (obsolete for Pictor) 1881 Richard Andree
Psalterium Georgii /sælˈtɪəriəm ˈɔːri/ George's Psaltery (renamed to Harp Georgii by Lalande) 1781 Maximilian Hell[22]
Quadrans Muralis /ˈkwdrænz mjʊəˈrlɪs/ Mural Quadrant 1795 Jérôme Lalande[23]
Quadratum Rhombus (obsolete name for Reticulum Rhomboidalis) 1706 Carel Allard
Ramus Pomifer /ˈrməs ˈpɒmɪfər/ Apple-bearing Branch 1690 Johannes Hevelius[24]
Robur Carolinum /ˈrbər kærəˈlnəm/ Charles' Oak 1679 Edmund Halley[25]
Rosa Rose 1536 Petrus Apianus
Sagitta Australis Southern Arrow 1613 Petrus Plancius
Scarabaeus /skærəˈbəs/ Rhinoceros Beetle 1754 John Hill
Sceptrum Brandenburgicum /ˈsɛptrəm ˌbrændənˈbɜːrɪkəm/ Scepter of Brandenburg 1688 Gottfried Kirch[26]
Sceptrum et Manus Iustitiae /ˈsɛptrəm ɛt ˈmnəs əˈstɪʃii/ Scepter and Hand of Justice 1679 Augustin Royer
Sciurus Volans Flying Squirrel (now part of Camelopardalis) 1810 William Croswell[27]
Sextants Uraniae Urania's Sextant (obsolete name for Sextans) 1690 Johannes Hevelius
Siren, Ceneus and Lang Siren, Lapith Caeneus and Toucan early 17th century[28] Unknown/Willem Jansz Blaeu
Solarium /səˈlɛəriəm/ Sundial 1822 Alexander Jamieson
Sudarium Veronicae Sudarium of Veronica 1643 Antoine Marie Schyrle de Rheita[29]
Tarandus or Rangifer /təˈrændəs, ˈrænɪfər/ Reindeer 1736 Pierre Charles Lemonnier[30]
Taurus Poniatovii /ˈtɔːrəs pɒniəˈtvi/ Poniatowski's Bull 1777 Martin Poczobut[31]
Tarabellum and Vexillum Drill and flag-like Standard 12th century Michael Scot[32]
Telescopium Herschelii /tɛlɪˈskpiəm hərˈʃli/ Herschel's Telescope (renamed from Tubus Herschelii Major by Bode in 1801) 1781 Maximilian Hell[33]
Tubus Herschelii Minor Herschel's Reflector 1781 Maximilian Hell
Testudo /tɛsˈtjd/ Tortoise 1754 John Hill
Tigris /ˈtɡrɪs/ Tigris River 1613 Petrus Plancius
Triangulus Antarcticus Obsolete name for Triangulum Australe 1589 Peter Plancius
Triangulum Majus Large Triangle (obsolete name for Triangulum) 1690 Johannes Hevelius
Triangulum Minus /trˈæŋɡjʊləm ˈmnəs/ Small Triangle 1690 Johannes Hevelius[34]
Turdus Solitarius /ˈtɜːrdəs sɒlɪˈtɛəriəs/ Solitary Thrush (renamed to Mocking Bird and then to Noctua). Named in honor of the Rodrigues solitaire, an extinct flightless bird related to the dodo. 1776 Pierre Charles Lemonnier[35]
Uranoscopus /jʊərəˈnɒskəpəs/ Star-Gazer fish 1754 John Hill
Urna Urn of Aquarius 1596 Zacharias Bornmann
Vespa /ˈvɛspə/ Wasp (an obsolete name for Musca Borealis) 1624 Jakob Bartsch[36]
Triangula, Triangulum, Catuli, Corona, Corolla, Piscis, Camelus, Vulpes, Equus, Delphin, Ursa Minor, Canis, Felis, Leaena and Cervus Obsolete names for Triangulum Boreale, Triangulum Australe, Canes Venatici, Corona Borealis, Corona Australis, Piscis Australis, Cameleopardalis, Vulpecula et Anser, Equuleus, Delphinus, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Leo Minor and Monoceros 1873 Richard Proctor[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Constellations". IAU—International Astronomical Union. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  2. ^ a b Ian Ridpath. "Constellation names, abbreviations and sizes". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  3. ^ Marc Lachièze-Rey; Jean-Pierre Luminet; Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Paris (16 July 2001). Celestial Treasury: From the Music of the Spheres to the Conquest of Space. Cambridge University Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-521-80040-2.
  4. ^ "Constellation boundaries". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  5. ^ "Star Tales – Argo Navis". www.ianridpath.com.
  6. ^ Barentine, John C. (2015). The Lost Constellations: A History of Obsolete, Extinct, or Forgotten Star Lore. New York, New York: Springer. p. 365.
  7. ^ Allen 1963, p. 40.
  8. ^ "Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/774 - Wikisource, the free online library". en.wikisource.org.
  9. ^ "Star Tales – Cancer". www.ianridpath.com.
  10. ^ Ridpath, Ian. "Canes Venatici". Star Tales. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  11. ^ "AMALTHEA (Amaltheia) - Goat Nurse of Zeus in Greek Mythology". www.theoi.com.
  12. ^ Allen 1963, p. 191.
  13. ^ "Astrocultura UAI - Unione Astrofili Italiani- Sezione Mitologia Costellazioni estinte obsolete". astrocultura.uai.it.
  14. ^ Allen 1963, p. 221.
  15. ^ Allen 1963, p. 237.
  16. ^ "Astrocultura UAI - Unione Astrofili Italiani- Sezione Mitologia Costellazioni estinte obsolete". astrocultura.uai.it.
  17. ^ Allen 1963, p. 65.
  18. ^ Allen 1963, p. 289.
  19. ^ Allen 1963, p. 290.
  20. ^ Allen 1963, p. 297.
  21. ^ "Star Tales – Grus". www.ianridpath.com.
  22. ^ Allen 1963, p. 347.
  23. ^ Allen 1963, p. 348.
  24. ^ Allen 1963, p. 242.
  25. ^ Allen 1963, p. 349.
  26. ^ Allen 1963, p. 360.
  27. ^ Kanas, Nick (2007). Star maps: history, artistry, and cartography. New York, New York: Springer. p. 131. ISBN 0-387-71668-8.
  28. ^ Gent, R.H. van. "A Pair of Puzzling Star Maps and Two Unknown Constellations". www.staff.science.uu.nl.
  29. ^ "Astrocultura UAI - Unione Astrofili Italiani- Sezione Mitologia Costellazioni estinte obsolete". astrocultura.uai.it.
  30. ^ Allen 1963, p. 377.
  31. ^ Allen 1963, p. 413.
  32. ^ "Nuova pagina 1". Atlascoelestis.com. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  33. ^ Allen 1963, p. 414.
  34. ^ Allen 1963, p. 417.
  35. ^ Allen 1963, p. 418.
  36. ^ Allen 1963, p. 292.
  37. ^ "Nuova pagina 1". Atlascoelestis.com. Retrieved 2018-08-05.

See also[edit]

Other References[edit]

External links[edit]