A History of Obsolete, Extinct, or Forgotten Star Lore

John C. Barentine

THE LOST CONSTELLATIONS: A History of Obsolete, Extinct, or Forgotten Star Lore Casual stargazers are familiar with many classical figures and asterisms composed of bright stars (e.g. Orion and the Plough), but this book reveals not just the constellations of today but those of yesteryear. The history of the human identification of constellations among the stars is explored through the stories of some influential celestial cartographers whose works determined whether new inventions survived.

The history of how the modern set of 88 constellations was defined by the professional astonomy community is recounted, explaining how the constellations described in the book become permanently "extinct".

Dr.Barentine addresses why some figures were tried and discarded, and also directs observers to how those figures can still be picked out on a clear night if one knows where to look. These lost constellations are described in great detail using historical references, enabling observers to rediscover them while doing their own sureys of the sky. Treatment of the obsolete constellations as extant features of the night sky adds a new dimension to stargazing that merges history with the accessibility and immediacy of the night sky.

Table of Contents

Technical note

Part I Toward the Modern Night Sky

1. What Is a Constellation?
2. The Contemporary Sky Emerges

Part II The Lost Constellations
3. Anser
4. Antinoüs
5. Argo Navis
6. Cancer Minor
7. Cerberus et Ramus Pomifer
8. Custos Messium
9. Felis
10. Gallus
11. Globus Aerostaticus
12. Honores Frederici
13. Jordanis
14. Machina Electrica
15. Mons Maenalus
16. Musca Borealis
17. Officina Typographica
18. Psalterium Georgianum
19. Quadrans Muralis
20. Rangifer
21. Rhombus
22. Robur Carolinum
23. Sagitta Australis
24. Sceptrum Brandenburgicum
25. Taurus Poniatovii
26. Telescopia Herchelii
27. Tigris
28. Triangulum Minus
29. Turdus Solitarius/Noctua

Part III Conclusion

30. Lost and Found

Appendix 1: The Modern Constellations

Extent: 506 pages, Black and white images integrated with text
Binding: Paperback
Published: 2015
ISBN: 978-3-319-22794-8

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