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Astronomy | The Mythology of the Night Sky - An Amateur Astronomer's Guide to the Ancient Greek and Roman

The Mythology of the Night Sky

An Amateur Astronomer's Guide to the Ancient Greek and Roman Legends

Falkner, David E.

2011, XIII, 238p. 71 illus., 62 illus. in color.

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  • Stands as a unique single-source reference, for astronomers and for anyone interested in classical literature
  • Organized by season for convenient practical observations
  • Gives practical observation data for stellar and deep-sky features, as well as observing and imaging tips
  • Serves as a great resource for astronomy lectures and star parties

Every amateur astronomer can easily recognize most of the constellations, but how many of us know the story behind them? What myths did the Ancient Greeks weave around the mighty hunter Orion that places him so prominently in the sky? Did you know that this mythical being was said to have been killed by Diana, herself a hunter, while he was exhausted by his fight with Scorpius? The constellation of Scorpius, the giant scorpion, is dominated by the red supergiant Antares and hangs in the sky opposite Orion. Yet there is no constellation of Diana to be found!

The Mythology of the Night Sky strikes a balance between backyard astronomy and ancient mythology. Organized by seasons, this book describes Ptolemy's 48 constellations with location and description in detail, while also telling the mythological tales in full. Along with the named constellations, this title also incorporates the lore behind the christening of the planets and their satellites. Readers discover the importance of the ancient characters, why they were immortalized in the sky, how several constellations are all woven into the same story and how satellite names are related to their planets.

Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » Constellations of the night sky - Greco-Roman constellation myths - Greek constellation names - Greek mythology sky - Night sky mythology - Planet names - Planetary mythologies and legends - Roman constellation myths - Stories of the constellations - Summer constellations - Winter constellations

Related subjects » Astronomy - Popular Astronomy

Table of contents 

Preface.- Chapter 1: Astrophotography Using a Compact Digital Camera.- Chapter 2: An Introduction to Greco-Roman Mythology.- Chapter 3: The Winter Constellations.- Chapter 4: The Legend of Jason and the Argonauts.- Chapter 5: The Spring Constellations.- Chapter 6: The Summer Constellations.- Chapter 7: The Legend of Hercules.- Chapter 8: The Autumn Constellations.- Chapter 9: The Legend of Perseus.- Chapter 10: Planets and Satellites.- Appendix A: Names of the Greek and Roman Gods.- Appendix B: Ptolemy's Constellations.- Appendix C: The Messier Objects.- Appendix D: NGC/IC Objects by Constellation.- Appendix E: The Greek Alphabet.- Bibliography.

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