Egyptian constellations

Southern Circumpolar Constellations

The Egyptians developed their own constellation system based on important gods and animals in their mythology, although it was not as extensive as in other cultures. For example, historian and mathematician Hugh Thurston (1996) mentions an Egyptian catalog of the universe dating to about 1100 bc that lists only five constellations, two of which are similar to our Orion and Ursa Major. Of course, if one includes the decan star groups, then this number jumps by 36. Figure 2.6. A pull-out plate of...

Chinese constellations

Tang Chinese Constellation Map

The Chinese oriented themselves to the north celestial pole, around which all the stars revolved. Our current pole star, Alpha Ursae Minoris (i.e., the brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Minor, in which the Little Dipper is located) was not the pole star to the ancient Chinese due to precession, but other stars received this honor. For example, in the 2nd Millennium bc, Alpha Draconis was the pole star, and Ho et al. (2000) has calculated that a faint star in our constellation of...