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The stars and constellations are named after ancient figures, from Greek mythology to Norse legends.
But the history of these celestial names is murky at best. Who were they? What was their significance? And what do we know about them today?
Below, see 12 truths that may surprise you:
Long Form Content: The Stars and Constellations are Named After Ancient Figures From Greek Mythology to Norse Legends; But History Is Murky At Best – Below Are Twelve Truths That May Surprise You About Celestial Names..
We all have a basic understanding that our system’s starry sky has been given its own set of names for over two thousand year and many can name some of the brightest stars in this system. But what are these names, and who were they named for?
The constellations and the vast majority of other celestial bodies have been assigned Latin names by astronomers throughout history to classify them as well as distinguish between different astronomical objects. These names stem from ancient mythologies that harken back to cultures across time. Allusions may be made about a constellation’s relevance or significance through its name for example, Orion is an important figure in both Greek mythology and Norse legend; however, we know virtually nothing about him save his importance within these two mythologies..
Not all astronomy-related words come from antiquity: some derive from Germanic languages with origins dating back only centuries ago
In general, the names of stars and constellations are assigned by their discoverers.
Most people have heard of a constellation called Ursa Major (the Great Bear). It’s commonly known as “The Big Dipper”. The acronym for its name is often abbreviated to UMA or USM. One might think that someone named it UMA but in reality it was originally designated with the Greek letter “omicron” which means bear in Latin. This bears repeating: You can’t spell “Ursa” without an ‘A’. And we all know what that spell ‘AA,’ one of our North American automobile clubs!
We call these celestial objects, galaxies, nebulae, suns, planets.
The official name for the Sun is “Sol” and it derives from Latin which means ‘sun’.
This star’s first recorded observation was made by a Babylonian astronomer named Ptolemy in 140 A.D., nearly two thousand years ago! He systematically catalogued this as one of 48 constellations he identified to represent figures on earth according to their distribution patterns throughout the sky. One wonders if he ever caught sight of his own constellation.