The Lost Constellations

A History of Obsolete, Extinct, or Forgotten Star Lore

  • John C. Barentine

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Also part of the Popular Astronomy book sub series (POPULAR)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Toward the Modern Night Sky

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. John C. Barentine
      Pages 3-10
    3. John C. Barentine
      Pages 11-31
  3. The Lost Constellations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 33-33
    2. John C. Barentine
      Pages 35-45
    3. John C. Barentine
      Pages 47-63
    4. John C. Barentine
      Pages 65-88
    5. John C. Barentine
      Pages 89-97
    6. John C. Barentine
      Pages 99-117
    7. John C. Barentine
      Pages 119-137
    8. John C. Barentine
      Pages 139-151
    9. John C. Barentine
      Pages 153-161
    10. John C. Barentine
      Pages 163-176
    11. John C. Barentine
      Pages 177-200
    12. John C. Barentine
      Pages 201-216
    13. John C. Barentine
      Pages 217-226
    14. John C. Barentine
      Pages 227-238
    15. John C. Barentine
      Pages 239-255
    16. John C. Barentine
      Pages 257-272

About this book


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.”  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 These lost constellations are described in great detail using historical references, ennabling observers to rediscover them on their own surveys of the sky.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.


Forgotten Constellations Historical Asterisms History of Astronomical Nomenclature History of Star Cartography History of Star Maps IAU Constellation Commission Modern 88 Constellations Single-sourced Constellations Western Catalog of Constellations

Authors and affiliations

  • John C. Barentine
    • 1

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-22794-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-22795-5
  • About this book
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