Casual stargazers are familiar with many classical figures and asterisms composed of bright stars, such as Boötes, Crux, Orion and the Plough, although this book reveals not just the constellations of today but also 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. These lost constellations are described in great detail using historical references, enabling observers to rediscover them on their own surveys of the sky. This book, together with the companion volume Uncharted Constellations, offers an array of interesting and intriguing star groups which, although they effectively vanished from star charts when the International Astronomical Union laid down the modern list of constellations almost a century ago, are still there if we know where to look.
Treatment and recognition of the obsolete constellations as extant features of the celestial sphere adds a new dimension to stargazing that merges history with the accessibility and immediacy of the night sky.
You can purchase a copy of The Lost Constellations by CLICKING HERE.