“The Underdogs of the Night Sky: Lesser-Known Constellations” By Abhishek
The night sky has long been a source of wonder for people all over the world. For thousands of years, humans have looked up at the stars and seen patterns that they could connect with a myth. When we look up at the night sky, we see stars arranged in various patterns, known as constellations. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the internationally recognized authority for assigning names to celestial objects, including constellations. IAU has recognized 88 such constellations.
The criteria used by the IAU to recognize constellations are as follows:
- The constellation must be easily identifiable and recognizable.
- The constellation must have a meaningful cultural or historical significance and use in astronomy.
- The constellation must have a specific area of the sky associated with it.
- The constellation must contain at least one bright star.
These 88 constellations have been used for centuries to map the night sky and to aid in navigation, scientific research, and cultural traditions. However, there are many constellations that are not officially recognized by the IAU. These unofficial constellations are often the product of cultural traditions or local folklore, and they provide a unique insight into how different cultures have viewed the night sky throughout history. In this blog, we will explore some of these lesser-known and most interesting constellations that are not recognized by the IAU.
Petrus Plancius introduced the constellation Jordanus in the 17th century. The constellation extends from Canes Venatici to Camelopardalis, passing through Leo Minor and Lynx. The International Astronomical Union does not officially recognize Jordanus as a constellation.
The Northern Cross
The Northern Cross is a constellation that is located in the northern sky. It is not officially recognized by the IAU, but it is still used by some astronomers as a way to navigate the night sky. The Northern Cross is said to represent a cross, and it is located near the constellation Cygnus.
The Coalsack is a dark nebula that is located in the southern sky. It is not officially recognized as a constellation by the IAU, but it is still a popular landmark for astronomers. The Coalsack is said to represent a dark patch in the sky, and it is located near the Southern Cross.
The Emu is a constellation that is located in the southern sky. It is not officially recognized by the IAU, but it is still used by some Indigenous Australian cultures as a way to navigate the night sky. The Emu is said to represent an emu, a large flightless bird that is native to Australia.
The Southern Triangle
The Southern Triangle is a constellation that is located in the southern celestial sphere. It is not officially recognized by the IAU, but it is still used by some astronomers as a way to navigate the night sky. The Southern Triangle is said to represent a triangle, and it is located near the Southern Cross.
Argo Navis is a constellation that was originally created by the ancient Greeks. It is said to represent the ship that Jason and the Argonauts used to travel on their quest for the Golden
Fleece. The constellation was later divided into three separate constellations by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, who named them Carina, Puppis, and Vela.
The Black Camelopardalis
The Black Camelopardalis is a constellation that is said to represent a black giraffe. It was first described by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the 18th century. The constellation is located in the northern celestial sphere, and it is not officially recognized by the IAU.
This constellation was created by French astronomer Jérôme Lalande in 1795 and was included in early astronomical charts. However, it was not included in the list of official constellations adopted by the IAU in 1922.
Musca Borealis, meaning “Northern Fly” in Latin, is a small and faint constellation in the northern sky that was first introduced by German astronomer Johann Bode in the late 18th century. However, it was never recognized by the IAU and is not included in modern star charts.
Norma is a faint and small constellation in the southern sky that represents a carpenter’s square. It was first introduced by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the 18th century.
In addition to the constellations listed above, there are many other unofficial constellations that are used by various cultures around the world. These constellations provide a unique insight into the beliefs and values of different cultures, and they serve as a reminder that the night sky has been an important part of human culture for thousands of years
In conclusion, the night sky is filled with many constellations that are not included in the IAU list of 88 constellations. These lesser-known patterns are just as fascinating as the official ones, and they often have interesting stories associated with them and continue to inspire people around the world to this day. While these constellations may not be as well-known as the 88 official constellations recognized by the IAU, they offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of astronomy.
Whether you are an astronomer, a stargazer, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the night sky, these lesser-known constellations are definitely worth exploring. Who knows, you might just discover a new favorite constellation and a whole new world of wonder and inspiration!