Planet Earth

Constellations

Topics

Introduction

Constellations are orientation aids devised by humans. The perceptual-physiological principle behind them is “shape-seeing”: since our brain is always looking for patterns, we recognise figures in seemingly disorderly collections of objects that we are used to seeing in everyday life and have therefore memorised. e.g. we recognise some animals in clouds or other figures in star groupings. However, the viewing habits of people from different cultures (in different places or at different times) are very different, so that different constellation cultures have been created around the world.

In the 1920s, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) commissioned a Belgian priest to clear up this hullabaloo in the sky and to create a uniform constellation system that has been officially used since 1930.

Here we present historical roots and alternatives.

Adventskalender (German readers)

Im Jahre 2019 habe ich in meinem WebLog bei Spektrum einen “Astronomischen Adventskalender” (Nov.2019, Dez. 2019) geschrieben, in dem ich die 48 klassischen Sternbilder des Almagest auf die 24 Türchen aufteilte und exemplarisch dem jeweiligen chinesischen Bild an dieser Himmelsstelle gegenüber stellte.