Talk:History of the constellations

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This used to exist as part of Constellation. What exists now fails to mention that the idea was not original to the Greeks, even though this is a well-established fact.

A lot more could be added, of course. I hope people do this.

--GwydionM 20:16, 20 March 2007 (UTC)


There were a few duplicates in the box at the bottom about Constellation history, in the section "The 41 modern additional constellations from 1603 AD and forth", namely Vulpecula (by Bayer then by Hevelius) and Canes Venatici (by Hevelius then by de Lacaille). I have removed the second instance of each, as they can only have been "created" or "introduced" once!

By the way in answer to the previous comment about the Greeks taking only what was there before them, the way I read the article now, it seems to mention that fact...

CielProfond (talk) 20:25, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Latin names[edit]

Can someone please explain why, if the Greeks named the ancient constellations, why the names are in Latin? at what stage were Latin names adopted instead? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:45, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Latin was the language of learning in Western Europe, so we use the translations they made of Greek names. But without a written source for this, I assume it would not be allowed on the article itself. Would get called "original research".--GwydionM (talk) 12:44, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

The truth[edit]

The constellations came from various sources, most importantly the following:

  1. the Mesopotamians, that concocted a heaven composed from figures probably fetched from four or more earlier sets of constellations: the earliest "farmer constellation set", "stars of Akkad", "stars of Amurru" and "stars of Elam", what survived to today is the zodiac and a few others, such as Piscis Austrinus, Hydra, Corvus and Crater and possibly a few more,Rogers98
  2. the Greek made quite different constellations, appending practically only the Mesopotamian zodiak to their own set,Rogers98
  3. the Egyptians originally used 36 decans along the ecliptic for time measurements, which were more like small asterism of a few stars than constellations, later on they adapted the Mesopotamian zodiak, and added a lot of indigenous own constellations for the other areas (Dendera zodiac),
  4. /something similar for Chinese constellations/
  1. the classical astronomers, Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Eudoxus of Cnidus and some other sources, Aratus and Hyginus wrote about the more and less international Graeco-Roman constellations, in scriptures that partially and at least indirectly survive to now. It seems that either Hipparchus or Ptolemy invented Equuleus and Corona Australis.
Medieval age
  1. the Christian west "forgot" science because of major systemic upheavals and some unsound level of antiintellectualism, while Islam soaked up antique science like sponges, and redeveloped it by adding methods and philosophy, experiments and observations,
  2. the Christian west came back to it's senses and started the renaissance by becoming sponges themselves, starting in Castilia/Aragonia and Italy by impulses from the papal church,
  1. the cartography of the 16th century started to make earth and star globes from the prerenaissance data, a few early sea explorers, f.ex. Magellan, Vespucci and others made some crude observations of the southern sky, Coma Berenices and Antinous were "rediscovered" from notes made by Ptolemy, Crux and Triangulum Australe were invented by early sea explorers;
  2. 1597-1603, Nederlandians, Keyser, de Houtman and Petrus Plancius made careful measurements of southern sky, and invented constellations accordingly,
Early modern science
  1. Tycho Brahe was the first westerner to make a 1000-big star catalog, like before him only non-westerners had made, first Hipparchos, then diverse Islamics like Ulug Beg and Al Sufi.
  2. when Johannes Hevelius as the second westerner made a 1600-big catalog, he invented his own new constellations, and so the modern astronomer constellations were multiplying in the heavens,
  3. Abbé de Lacaille made the next big rush adding a lot of southern constellations
  4. the maximum number was about 104 constellations, but the astronomers thought that the sky was a little too richly populated, so the general inclination was towards removing a lot of the least notable ones,
Late modern science
  1. logical positivism, bureaucracy and other weird scientoid cults became fashion and so square constellation borders were added by Êugèné Delporte in 1930, the constellations were fixed and standardized by IAU, and so we live in the eternal bliss of static nonchange, except the (evil!!) precession is making the constellation borders becoming more and more tilted.

... said: Rursus (mbork³) 20:49, 13 October 2009 (UTC)