Star chart

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This chart shows the star Kappa Andromedae, visible to the unaided eye. In 2012, a young, hot gas giant planet about 50 times the mass of Jupiter was seen in orbit around the star at an apparent distance of 55 ± 2 AU.[1][2] That is almost twice as far as Neptune is from the Sun. The companion is shining by the heat of its formation, cooling as it ages
The constellation Orion in Bayer's Uranometria

A star chart is a graphic device or diagram which shows the night sky as seen from Earth. They are one of the oldest types of written or carved communication. There is a claim for a prehistoric carving as the first known star chart, but the evidence is not clear.[3]

Star charts occur in Babylonian and Ancient Egyptian wall decorations and writing.[4][5][6] In the ancient world, knowledge was needed for practical reasons and for religious reasons. Early star charts were used for all these purposes.[7] Even today, they are used for both astronomy and astrology. In the renaissance, with its interest in ideas, hundreds of books were printed with star charts and other diagrams.[8]

The key point for scientific charts is the use of data taken from observations, and listed in tables or databases. Historically, the first tables were in Ptolemy's Almagest (~AD 150). It has the last known star table from antiquity, with 1,028 stars.

References[change | change source]

  1. Carson J. et al 2012. "Direct imaging discovery of a ‘super-Jupiter’ around the late B-type star κ And". arXiv:1211.3744. 
  2. Sasha Hinkley et al. "The Kappa Andromedae system: new constraints on the companion mass, system age & further multiplicity". arXiv:1309.3372. 
  3. Whitehouse, David 2003. 'Oldest star chart' found. BBC News Science/Nature. [1]
  4. Hogben L. 1949. From cave painting to comic strip: a kaleidoscope of human communication. London: Parrish, p30.
  5. Frankfort H. Cylinder seals: a documented essay on the art and religion of the ancient Near East. 1939, London.
  6. Collon, Dominique 1987, 2005. First impressions: cylinder seals in the ancient Near East. London: British Museum,
  7. Hogben L. 1971. Astronomer priest and ancient mariner: the beginnings of science. London: Heinemann.
  8. Heninger S.K. Jr. 1977. The cosmological glass: renaissance diagrams of the universe. San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library.