Ancient Greek Constellations

Decent Essays
Have you ever had one of those days where you’d take a nice walk in the night time and just gaze into the night sky, and when you look up you see a bunch of beautiful stars. Well, if you have taken a closer look you may have noticed that the stars have patterns that create images called constellations. Constellations are a group of stars that are connected together to represent mythological images of animals and objects from the past that is located in the celestial sphere 1, 3. They were mainly discovered by the early people, primarily used as references to coordinate directions, measure time, predict farming seasons, and for religious studies3. According to the International Astronomical Union, there are 88 constellations in the sky, but…show more content…
Though, the Ancient Greeks did have quite the knowledge in constellations, they received most their knowledge from Ancient Egyptians, who inherited their knowledge from the Ancient Babylonians. It was the Ancient Babylonians who first discovered approximately 30 constellations around the Late Bronze Age when the oldest Babylonian star catalogs were found1, 3. As time progressed, the Greeks, Romans, and Hebrew scholars went on to creating their own astronomical systems. The Ancient Babylonians were also one of the first ones to realize that astronomical phenomena are calculated periodically with mathematics2. As time progressed, Ancient China first discovered their astronomical system in the13th century BCE, followed by India 3300-1300 BCE3. As time progressed, the Greeks learned more from the Babylonians and added several more constellations. By the 2nd century CE, Claudius Ptolemaus combined all the 48 constellations into a single arrangement called the Almagest, which was used by European and Islamic Scholars1. As time went by more and more constellations were discovered. Henry Norris Russell, an American astronomer was the one who divided the celestial sphere into 88 sectors, which was where the International Astronomical Union recognized the 88 constellations that are in…show more content…
As constellations move about one degree per day, they complete a 360 degrees circular motion in a year, making them return back to the same position as they were the year before3. As mentioned earlier the rotation of constellations depends on where you look and your location. For instance, a person who looks up North would tend to realize that the constellations are rotating in the counterclockwise direction around the north celestial pole, which is beside Polaris3. The explanation to why it seems like the constellations are rotating counterclockwise is because the earth spins from west to east, meaning that it is rotating to the right, while the stars and constellations above, moves from east to west3. In contrast, those who face the south, will see the stars rotate clockwise3. For a person who is facing the east will see the stars rise in the front of them and set behind, while a person who faces the west will see the stars rise behind and set in front of them3. Though constellations travel from East to West like the planets, people from different parts of the world will have a different standpoint on the movements of the constellations. Now that we have an understanding of constellations, lets take a look at a few notable ones, starting with the
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