I remember taking walks on clear nights with friends and family pointing out to the stars in the sky and telling me their names. I learnt about the various shapes and names of these stars and still fascinated to see as many as possible when there are no clouds blocking our view. Another thing is because I am excited to see these stars at times I literally dream watching these stars and pointing them out to people. A particular favourite star is regularly seen more than 11 times in my dreams. Orion is pointing in various directions in the sky on recent locations according to different seasons and ecliptics. I read more on NASA sites about astronomy and people interested in stars as hobby. Much is written about stars but feel the joy strolling and looking out to discover star patterns and laughing so fascinated with others I discuss it with. Amateurs with powerful telescopes take amazing photos they discovered and is well-documented so seen by millions all over the world online. Also the teaching materials in schools and colleges and universities. Clouds sometimes prevent enjoying fresh air out and about under the stars pointing to the stars. There are 88 officially recognized constellations in the sky with astronomical patterns with a fascinating long history. Forty-eight of the constellations are known as ancient or originally named by Greeks and probably by Babylonians and other earlier people. After the 15th century, an age of great discoveries and worldwide navigation the southernmost parts of the sky became known to man and charted. Across entire sky large gap filled in dim stars between them. Recent astronomy grouped the constellations in gaps after more powerful telescopes has revealed outer space. The evening sky, between bright star Capella and Big Dipper’s bowl are two examples of modern constellations. The first is “camel-leopard,” Camelopardalis, which in Latin means giraffe. The other Lynx, one of two animal constellations with identical Latin and English names is Phoenix. This celestial feline is dim hard to visualize by naked eye. The paintings of artists reveal indepth detail of constellations and featured paintings teach people the shapes and symbols of constellation. These makes it easier for younger ones to learn about stars and adults remember the Constellations of the Northern Sky.
Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) a 17th century Renaissance man placed it in the sky. Aside from being astronomer, Hevelius was an artist, engraver, well-to-do man of affairs and a leading citizen of Danzig, Poland. Interestingly, the old astronomy books and sky charts, which depicted the constellations as allegorical drawings, placed the lucida (brightest star) of Lynx in the tuft of its tail. From these drawings it would seem that nearby Leo Minor, the Smaller Lion, is about to provoke a cat fight by biting Lynx’s tail.Although the telescope was just coming into general use during Hevelius’ time, he openly rejected the new invention. In star atlas of 1690, he actually tucked a cartoon into a corner of one sky chart showing a cherub holding a card with the Latin motto “The naked eye is best.In creating Lynx, Hevelius chose a cat-like animal that possesses excellent eyesight. Lynx itself is a region devoid of bright stars, Hevelius openly admitted that you would have to have the eyes of a lynx to see it. A faint star pattern now no longer recognized is Felis, the Cat, a creation of 18th century Frenchman, Joseph Jerome Le Francais de Lalande (1732-1807).“I am fond of cats,” he said, explaining his choice. “I will let this figure scratch on the chart. The starry sky has worried me quite enough in my life so now I can have my joke with itAlthough this celestial feline does not exist today, cat fanciers will be consoled by that there are three other members of cat family Leo (the Lion), Leo Minor (Smaller Lion) and Lynx well situated and close together in current evening sky. I’ve always wondered if Felis might later inspired the New Jersey cartoonist Otto Messmer to create curious, such a the mischievous and inventive and little character Felix, the Cat.Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille (1713-1762) is considered the pioneer in astronomy. Between 1751 and 1753, a hardworking French astronomer was stationed at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, he catalogued positions of 9,766 southern stars in 11 months. Is best remembered for inventing 14 constellations he added to southern sky. Although they are all still officially recognized today, they are composed mostly of very faint stars, which formed patterns that generally are dim and pointless. Unlike the larger, brighter constellations based on myths and legend, Lacaille chose to honour inanimate objects. NASA graphics offer an introduction to these constellations in Southern Hemisphere evening sky. Antlia Pneumatica, Air Pump, created by Lacaille around the year 1750. Despite dim, faint stars officially recognized today as constellation. Its name is shortened to Antlia, the Pump. Above Pump is Felis the Cat no longer recognized. The Lacaille’s constellations include the Sculptor’s Chisels (Caela Sculptoris). Compasses (Circinus), a Chemical Furnace (Fornax Chemica) Pendulum Clock (Horologium) a Carpenter’s Square (Norma), Hadley’s Octant (Octans Hadleianus), aj Painter’s Easel (Equuleus Pictoris).Also Mariner’s Compass (Pyxis Nautica), and others Rhomboidal Net (Reticulum Rhomboidalis) Sculptor Workshop (Apparatus Sculptoris), the Microscope (Microscopium), Telescope (Telescopium), Table Mountain (Mons Mensae), was overlooked by Lacaille’s observatory. Heber D. Curtis (1872-1942), director Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania saw chart depicted director’s creations and said: “It looks like somebody’s attic!”
Joe Rao is an instructor, guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.