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A Dictionary of Modern Star Names: A Short Guide to 254 Star Names and Their Derivations Paperback – May 1, 2007
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A revised edition of a classic text, A Dictionary of Star Names will help you navigate the origin and meaning of star names.
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Sky Publishing, 2006, 2nd edition, soft cover, 5 ¼" x 8 1/8", 68 pages
Originally published in 1986 as Short Guide to Modern Star Names and
Their Derivations in Germany, this guide has an Old World look and feel to it.
The paper stock has an almost newsprint quality to it using an antique-like type face. It is like a read through the 101 Arabian Nights with all the references to Arabic and Greek origins and mythologies.
The introduction explains the correct pronunciation, derivations and origins of the names used for the 254 named stars in the book. It also gives a brief a time line broken into historical periods and how the names were changed or reinterpreted to conform to that period in history. Charts on how each language pronounces its vowels assist you as you read through the book.
The main section of the book is broken down by constellations and the major stars alphabetically with their corresponding Greek letter. The star names only are also listed alphabetically in the index at the end of the book.
Under each chapter, the stars listed have their pronunciation (sometimes multiple) to the right of the name, with a paragraph or two giving you the historical significance and the derivation (if any) of the star plus any other interesting fact about the star.
This book is not intended to further your general astronomical knowledge,
but to educate you on the specific topic on the name origins of these celestial lights. It is a nice reference source and the information can be entertaining should the topic of stars come up in you next conversation.
Jack Fox, Richmond Astronomical Society