A deeper dive into a forgotten history of the night sky.
This book compiles an array of interesting constellations that fell by the wayside before the IAU established the modern canon of constellations. That decision left out lesser known ones whose history is nevertheless interesting, but at last author John Barentine is giving them their due. This book is a companion to The Lost Constellations, highlighting the more obscure configurations.
The 16 constellations found in this volume fall into one or more of three broad categories: asterisms, such as the Big Dipper in Ursa Major; single-sourced constellations introduced on surviving charts by a cartographer perhaps currying the favor of sponsors; and re-brands, new figures meant to displace existing constellations, often for an ideological reason. All of them reveal something unique about the development of humanity's map of the sky.
Left: Aquarius holding Norma Nilotica from plate 21 of Alexander Jamieson's Celestial Atlas (1822)
"A concise book about some of the constellations that were proposed once, but didn't get popular enough to be represented on many star-charts and are not among the official constellations. The book gives information as far as the symbolism for the constellations go, who and when and where proposed the constellation (if known) and their locations on a star-chart." (Goodreads user Kadri)
Part I: Celestial Odds And Ends
1 What Is A Constellation?
1.1 The Construction of Our Galaxy
1.2 History, Mythology, and Pattern Recognition
1.3 A “Modern” Night Sky
1.3.1 Constellation Counts in Disagreement
1.3.2 Precession of the Equinoxes
1.3.3 IAU Commission 3
2 Asterisms, Single-Sourced Constellations, and “Rebrands”
2.1.1 Alias Asterisms
2.1.2 Sectional Asterisms
2.1.3 Non-sectional Asterisms
2.1.4 Cross-border Asterisms
2.2 Single-sourced Constellations
2.3 “Rebranded” Figures
Part II: The Lost Constellations
The Battery of Volta
Gladii Electorales Saxonici
Sceptrum et Manus Iustitiae
The Constellations and Asterisms of Petrus Apianus (1524-36) The Constellations of John Hill (1754)
The Modern Constellations
Read A Sample Chapter
Read a chapter about Sceptrum et Manus Iustitiae, a lost constellation of the northern hemisphere night sky.
View A Gallery Of Images
See examples of lost constellations drawn from a variety of historical celestial cartography sources.
Buy The book
Get your very own copy of this important astronomy history reference work.