Cover of The Lost Constellations: A History of Obsolete, Extinct, or Forgotten Star Lore
Category: History
Publisher: Sky and Telescope Media, LLC
Pages: 506
ISBN: 9783319227948
Year: 2015

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Lent status: Lent

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Review

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 astronomy community is recounted, explaining how the constellations described in the book became permanently “extinct.”

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