Talk:Petrus Plancius

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Formation of S constellations[edit]

Is probably not to be attributed to Plancius, but according to Knobel, E. B. it must be attributed to Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser who formed all the southern constellations by measuring up most (or all) of their then known stars, specifically observe page 420 last sentence. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 22:08, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I've marked this article for factual accuracy:


The article is weakly written and is probably erroneous and full of errors. Plancius instigated the measuring up of Southern Constellations. He did probably not invent them. The Constellations mentioned need to be checked up, most of them were invented by other guys, Camelopardalis is generally attributed to Hevelius. The statements of the article needs citations, and the constellation stuff needs facts check and rewriting. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 22:22, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

"Camelopardalis is generally attributed to Hevelius."?? No it isn't. Where did you get this idea from? Perhaps the erroneousness is in your understanding of the subject rather than the entry. (talk) 23:42, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Patrick Moore his book "The Guiness book of astronomy". Although that doesn't mean he is correct. I think I understand the subject, and I think the article claims things that cannot be supported by external sources, see the links of the previous heading. The article needs some proofreading, and some change to adapt to external sources. Plancius inventing those constellations cannot be supported, unless we find external sources disproving Knobels claims. Nowadays the primary sources can be found out there, Tabulæ Rudolphinæ HERE, a general set of early modern tables can be found HERE (at lindahall), Knobel accessed de Houtmans own tables, and so his text could be used to determine facts about early modern constellations ... said: Rursus (bork²) 09:10, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
THIS revision of the article Petrus Plancius seems to reflect the facts as Knobel would have refered it, so it is possible to support with Knobel's article as a citation, but more sources would be preferrable before deciding how the article content is going to be presented in order to reflect a possible ambiguity of differing external sources. It seems that Ian Ridpath ("Star Tales") have made his decision about who invented what — the one and only source used now — and if the right primary sources for his research can be found, we may design the text to take this into account. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 09:26, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Felice Stoppa on Plancius, usable as citations. I'll be back! ... said: Rursus (bork²) 10:34, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Dispute retracted by myself, since I found alternative sources supporting the text. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 10:50, 28 July 2009 (UTC)


The dispute retracted, who invented the said constellations? Knobel said Keyser. This question still needs resolution. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 10:56, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

I, preliminarly believe the following:
  • Plancius may be attributed the invention of Apes/Musca Borealis, Cancer Minor, Sagitta Australis, Gallus, Columba, Camelopardalis, Monoceros,
  • the inventor of Apus, Chamaeleon, Dorado, Grus, Hydrus, Indus, Musca, Pavo, Phoenix, Triangulum Australe, Tucana, and Volans is probably not Plancius, since he didn't speak with Indians on the constellation Toucan "named by the Indians Lang", but whether it is de Houtman or Dirkszoon Keyser is not quite provable,
so the article text shouldn't be categorical about Plancius forming them. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 11:28, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I've tried to make the description in the text as fuzzy as possible on who invented them, as this is probably not securely known. Anyone who find a primary source that make it likely that any one of the person invented them, will be welcome to improve the text further. However: the text may still need language fixes to make it flow better, my current changes just regarded presenting facts as accurate as possible, and the result might well be that the text is by itself confusing, not only presenting a confused fact situation. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 12:01, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Research since Knobel[edit]

The recent changes on this page, casting doubt on the claim that Petrus Plancius formed the southernmost constellations, are largely based on Knobel's article in the MNRAS.

It does not take more recent research into account, such as the following papers by the Dutch science historian Elly Dekker:

  • E. Dekker, "Het vermeende plagiaat van Frederick de Houtman: Een episode uit de geschiedenis van de hemelkartografie", Caert-Thresoor: Tijdschrift voor de geschiedenis van de kartografie in Nederland, 4 (1985), 70-76 [erratum in ibid., 5 (1986), 18].
  • E. Dekker, "Early Explorations of the Southern Celestial Sky", Annals of Science, 44 (1987), 439-470.
  • E. Dekker, "On the Dispersal of Knowledge of the Southern Celestial Sky", Der Globusfreund: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Globen- und Instrumentenkunde, 35/37 (1987), 211-230.
  • E. Dekker, "De herkomst van de zuidelijke sterrenbeelden”, Zenit, 15 (1988), 284-291.
  • E. Dekker, "The Light and the Dark: A Reassessment of the Discovery of the Coalsack Nebula, the Magellanic Clouds and the Southern Cross", Annals of Science, 47 (1990), 529-560.

Elly Dekker's papers are based on her research of several important Dutch celestial globes which were produced around 1600 by Plancius and others.

All evidence points to Plancius as the creator of these constellations. He already had a name as a cartographer of note and these were not his first constellations. Earlier, in 1592, he had already created the constellations Columba, Polophylax and Triangulum Australe on his large wall map (and later, in 1612 or 1613, he created eight more constellations).

The original observations were made by Keyser on the first survey and later by De Houtman during his second journey to the East Indies but there is no evidence that either actually reduced the raw observations or grouped them into constellations. AstroLynx (talk) 13:59, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

No, E. Dekker "Early Explorations..." actually doesn't support Plancius being the inventor. She assigns all credit to Plancius according to her principle, that the symbol assigner to a group of stars takes all the credit. Instead, she claims:
p466 It would be plausible that at the time of his [Keyser's] death, his observations (like those of the other observers [deHoutman, Willemsz, Stockmans]) were arranged according to certain groups of stars, but most unlikely at that time that it had been already decided which group of stars should be represented by a fish, an Indian or a Toucan.
to which I partially agree on basis on my own amateur astronomer experience, but later she implies that, by a speculative reasoning of Plancius'es character that it must have been him, and guesses that he did the connection between the groupings and the symbols. She elects Plancius the inventor, not proves it. I frankly believe that Keyser and some more did some grouping, maybe also some symbol attachment, Plancius got 2 to 4 bunches of partially disagreeing papers in his hands, he did some regrouping in the sake of agreement, changed some symbols and invented some more to fill the gaps that those 2 to 4 bunches of papers didn't treat properly. I think it might be more truthful to guess that most of those new southern constellations were a team invention, while Plancius still gets the credit for enterpreneuring the expedition and inventing f.ex. Camelopardalis and Columba Noachi. However Wikipedia is not a truthspeaker, but a reflection on outside sources, so I think that The Star Tales' description that "Dekker has argued" the true credit for Plancius, is the preferrable path to be taken in this article too. ... said: Rursus (mbor) 20:47, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I'll take a look and see if these can be found on ADSABS. Otherwise, you may restore the article accordingly, or I'll do it for you. The former state of the article was that it was supported by one external tertiary-something source, the more sources the better. If you have some citations from those books, that are extra relevant, they might be valuable for the article. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 17:47, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, this is it: Early explorations of the southern celestial sky, has an ADSABS entry, and De herkomst van de zuidelijke sterrenbeelden has an entry. Now we have one source speaking against and one for Plancius forming the southern constellations. We can decide which is true by examining the later research and find that it provides proof that the earlier research was insufficient and lacked some details (such as that the constellations were available before the publishing of de Houtman dictionary). Are there any such citations from E. Dekker? (The source texts of E. Dekker are sadly missing on the above ADSABS entries because of "not available"). ... said: Rursus (bork²) 17:57, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Here also! Anyone that has the means to get access to this article might provide necessary citations. The abstract just says that there were two southern sky surveys... ... said: Rursus (bork²) 18:12, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Now I used the Star Tales to temporary fill in the missing Dekker ref that I have no access to, and so cannot make. The Star Tales, chapter 1 (tertiary source) now fills in the ref needed to restore the claims that "Plancius invented them" and "De Houtman assisted Keyser". That might suffice for the time being... (?) ... said: Rursus (bork²) 18:52, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I finally added a little insecurity as to who invented the constellations. E. Dekker assigns Plancius without proof but based on a hypothetical reasoning that I think isn't psychologically plausible. If we some day find a text from Keyser, de Houtman or Plancius, saying: "I invented Piscis Volans", then a discoverer can be assigned. I think this issue is as hard as who invented Triangulum Australe, and I think the best thing is to tell everybody about that an exact inventor cannot be pointed out. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 13:53, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

North East passage?[edit]

"...a North East passage through North America"

I thought the Northeast Passage was through north Russia and the Northwest passage was through North America. Any clarification? Kortoso (talk) 21:23, 2 June 2015 (UTC)