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Doug Reilly
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Becvar's 14 star names
      #5629897 - 01/18/13 12:50 PM

I just did a post on my blog about the 14 star names that Antonin Becvar introduced with the Skalnate Pleso atlas in 1948. They are:

Achird, Arich, Haris, Hasseleh, Hatysa, Heze, Kaffa, Kraz, Ksora, Kuma, Reda, Sarin, Segin and Tyl

Star name researcher Paul Kunitsch could find no earlier reference nor any clear etymology for these names, at least in Latin, Greek or Arabic. They seem to have been dreamed up from thin air, or from a source that was known to only Becvar and his team.

Anyone have any information about them? It's an interesting mystery.

Here' my post for more information...although really what we know is...very little.

http://bicycleastronomy.org/2013/01/17/star-atlas-mystery-the-becvar-14/


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KidOrion
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5630043 - 01/18/13 02:50 PM

With Korsa, at least, the derivation seems to be from Arabic chair. Cassiopeia was referred to as al-Dhat al-Kursiyy. Alpha Cas was also referred to with this name, but was later changed to Schedar, whose etymology could be from a few different sources.

Edited by KidOrion (01/18/13 02:51 PM)


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KidOrion
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: KidOrion]
      #5630074 - 01/18/13 03:02 PM

Arich may be a mutated form of Arista, which Bayer called both Spica and Virgo; that may be a stretch.

It may also be from the Arabic for "foot", rijl (hence "Rigel"); al-rijl would assimilate to ar-rijl. Eta Vir was also known as ar-rijl al 'Awwa, "Foot of the Barker," and Gamma may have been similarly designated at one time.

Edited by KidOrion (01/18/13 03:12 PM)


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: KidOrion]
      #5630087 - 01/18/13 03:11 PM

It's not Korsa, though, but Ksora. Interesting information, however. Arich refers to Gamma, not Alpha Virginis...so it's even more of a stretch. Constellation matches.

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KidOrion
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5630119 - 01/18/13 03:32 PM

Yeah. Historical linguistics gets less accurate the farther back one goes, especially without knowing specifics of the given languages. Much of this is spitballing. Star-names occasionally wandered from star to star, too (or from star to constellation and vice versa), which makes it even more difficult.

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KidOrion
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5630122 - 01/18/13 03:35 PM

Quote:

It's not Korsa, though, but Ksora. Interesting information, however. Arich refers to Gamma, not Alpha Virginis...so it's even more of a stretch. Constellation matches.




Well, Ksora might have still originated from the above, if one applies metathesis to it (the process by which ask becomes "axe"). It could have been a mistranslation/misreading of the word.

Hard to say, but fun to speculate.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: KidOrion]
      #5630209 - 01/18/13 04:22 PM

What a great article! Thanks, Doug!

They could be anagrams of Czech words or names; like Navi, Regor, and Dnoces.


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5638821 - 01/23/13 12:21 PM

Any idea of the RA/dec coordinates of the Becvar 14? Constellation locations? Alternate labels?

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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5639005 - 01/23/13 02:25 PM

I will post the bayer designations....

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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5639481 - 01/23/13 07:47 PM

Achird Eta Cas
Arich Gamma Vir
Haris Gamma Boo
Hasseleh Iota Aur
Hatysa Iota Ori
Heze Zeta Vir
Kaffa Delta UMa
Kraz Beta Crv
Ksora Delta Cas
Kuma Nu Dra
Reda Gamma Aql
Sarin Delta Her
Segin Epsilon Cas
Tyl Epsilon Dra


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5639521 - 01/23/13 08:22 PM

Thanks. I will add the Becvar 14 as an observing list to my SkyTools 3 database.

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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5639720 - 01/23/13 10:48 PM

I finished building the Becvar 14 observing list in SkyTools 3 on my laptop. Some of the Becvar designations were already in the SkyTools 3 data base; some were not. For those that were not, SkyTools 3 used alternate designations.

Here is the SkyTools 3 information. Let me know if you want me to double check any of these. I googled each of the Becvar designations and entered a NOTE of some of what I saw online. Anyone interested can click on the link at the end of each NOTE.

I also liked what Rick Woods said.

    Achird Eta Cas -- Yes in SkyTools 3: multiple star system, R.A.: 00h49m07.5s, Dec.: +5748'47".
    NOTE: Designation used by James Kaler.

    Arich Gamma Vir -- Not in SkyTools 3: designation is Porrima, multiple star system, R.A.: 12h41m39.1s, Dec.: -0126'57".
    NOTE: "Arich is a giant red spider, that appears as a boss in the game Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. He appears as the boss of the second area of the game, Kremwood Forest, where he is fought in a level called Arich's Ambush" (wikipedia).

    Haris Gamma Boo -- Not in SkyTools 3: designation is Seginus, multiple star system, R.A.: 14h32m04.5s, Dec.: +3818'32".
    NOTE: "Traditional name for the star gamma bootis, name of a county and city in Iran" (wikipedia)

    Hasseleh Iota Aur -- Yes in SkyTools 3: variable star, R.A.: 04h56m59.6s, Dec.: +3309'58".
    NOTE: "Hasseleh was Al Ka'b dhi'l 'Inan "the Heel of the Rein-holder" a title which other authors gave to gamma (γ) [gamma Auriga which marks the right Heel of the Rein-holder is now beta Taurus, El Nath marking one of the Bull's horns]" (Richard H. Allen, 1889).

    Hatysa Iota Ori -- Not in SkyTools 3: designation is Nair al Saif, multiple star system, R.A.: 05h35m26.0s, Dec.: -0554'36".
    NOTE: "Iota (ι) Orion, Hatsya, is a triple and nebulous star, 3.5, 8.5, and 11, white, pale blue, and grape red in the sword tip of the Hunter, the brightest star in Orion's sword. Al Tizini (Arabian astronomer, first half of 16th century) designated this as Na'ir al Saif, the Bright One in the Sword, but it is practically unnamed with us [Wikipedia says it is a traditional name; "sometimes with the typographic error Hatysa."], although far more deserving of the title Saiph than is the succeeding star kappa (κ Saiph). In China it was Fa, a Middle-man, upsilon (υ) and intermediate stars being included under this name; but Edkins translates the word "Punishment," and gives another title for it, Tui, or Jui, the Sharp Edge, analogous to the Arabian Saif and perhaps taken from it.) [Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].

    Heze Zeta Vir -- Yes in SkyTools 3: single star, R.A.: 13h34m41.4s, Dec.: -0035'44".
    NOTE: "Heze is the westernmost prefecture-level city in Shandong" (wikipedia).

    Kaffa Delta UMa -- Not in SkyTools 3: designation is Megrez, multiple star system, R.A.: 12h15m25.7s, Dec.: +5701'58".
    NOTE: "Kaffa is the name of several places in Ethiopia" (wikipedia).

    Kraz Beta Crv -- Yes in SkyTools 3: variable star, R.A.: 12h34m23.2s, Dec.: -2323'49".
    NOTE: "KrAZ is is a factory that produces trucks and other special-purpose vehicles in Kremenchuk, Ukraine; particularly heavy-duty off-road models" (wikipedia)

    Ksora Delta Cas -- Not in SkyTools 3: designation is Ruchbah, multiple star system, R.A.: 01h25m49.5s, Dec.: +6014'06".
    NOTE: Google search revealed no clues.

    Kuma Nu Dra -- Yes in SkyTools 3: alternate designation is Nu 2 Dra, multiple star system, R.A.: 17h32m16.2s, Dec.: +5510'23".
    NOTE: "Kuma is a word in several languages and might refer to 'Kuma Lisa', a character from Bulgarian and Russian folklore, a fox who usually plays the role of the trickster; Kuma, is the word for "bear" in Japanese; Kuma is the name of several places in Japan; name of a river in Russia" (wikipedia).

    Reda Gamma Aql -- Not in SkyTools 3: designation is Tarazed, multiple star system, R.A.: 19h46m15.6s, Dec.: +1036'48".
    NOTE: "Reda may refer to a town or river in Poland" (wikipedia).

    Sarin Delta Her -- Yes in SkyTools 3: multiple star system, R.A.: 17h15m01.9s, Dec.: +2450'19".
    NOTE: "In the catalogue of stars in the Calendarium of Al Achsasi al Mouakket, this star was designated Menkib al Jathi al Aisr, which was translated into Latin as Humerus Sinister Ingeniculi, meaning the left shoulder of the kneeling man" (wikipedia)

    Segin Epsilon Cas -- Yes in SkyTools 3: variable star, R.A.: 01h54m23.8s, Dec.: +6340'12".
    NOTE: "In Chinese, 閣道 (G Do), meaning Flying Corridor, refers to an asterism consisting of ε Cassiopeiae, ι Cassiopeiae, δ Cassiopeiae, θ Cassiopeiae, ν Cassiopeiae and ο Cassiopeiae.[16] Consequently, ε Cassiopeiae itself is known as 閣道二 (G Do r, English: the Second Star of Flying Corridor.)" (wikipedia)

    Tyl Epsilon Dra -- Not in SkyTools 3: designation is 63 Dra, multiple star system, R.A.: 19h48m10.6s, Dec.: +7016'05".
    NOTE: "Tyl is a Russian word meaning 'rear' in a military sense" (wikipedia).

I enjoyed reading through your Bicycle Astronomy blog.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5639796 - 01/23/13 11:45 PM

Bob, you're good!

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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5640151 - 01/24/13 08:08 AM

Awesome sluething Bob!

Just to note, Hasseleh is not named by Allen in the original. The page linked seems to have it superimposed on the map and the quoted passage is misleading in that it seems to suggest that Hasseleh is in Allen. The link at the top, to google books, shows no sign of it nor does a search of the book text.

A few of these possible meanings might make sense in terms of things that might have been familiar to Becvar. Kraz russian trucks would likely have been common in socialist Czechoslovakia (it actually sounds familiar, like I saw them when I was a volunteer in Slovakia), Poland is just next door (Reda), Russian was taught in schools (Kuma), Sarin was a nerve gas common to both Nato and Soviet arsenals in the 1950s and certianly matches the "sinister" connotations of the star's earlier names. Place names farther afield could have come from an Atlas.

I have a hard time believing that Hatysa was a "typo" given that it's about as far from the Arabic tranliteration as possible! That might be worth correcting the Wiki, which I've never done, but Wikipedia is an awesome project...

Thanks again Bob, this is good work. No definitive answers, but the mystery gets richer.


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5640154 - 01/24/13 08:10 AM

Oh, thanks for reading the blog. I try to post good stuff, but that means I don't post every day. Unless someone would give me a full time job doing it!

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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5647214 - 01/28/13 12:05 AM

http://www.constellationsofwords.com/stars/Hasseleh.html

http://www.constellationsofwords.com/stars/Hatsya.html

1889 edition of Star Names, by R.H. Allen.

Haven't checked the rest, but I bet that's where many of them came from. Whether Allen made 'em up is another question, but I doubt it.

- Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (01/28/13 12:28 AM)


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5647224 - 01/28/13 12:14 AM

Ksora reference here, allegedly from the Cambridge Guide to the Constellations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Cassiopeiae

Very cool topic.

Regards,

Jim


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5647241 - 01/28/13 12:24 AM

"Arich" is supposedly Greek and refers to a royal Athenian princess or some such (per a "baby names" website). Probably a story there. The star is also known as "Postvarta".

- Jim


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5647659 - 01/28/13 09:31 AM

Jim,
Hasseleh and Hatsya are not as far as I know named thus in Allen. The website you linked is a little misleading, most likely unintentionally. From the pages you linked, however, there is further link (under the star name title at the top) to the google books version of Allen's work and I can't find either name there. For example, see page 91:

http://books.google.com/books?id=_GUDis0bETgC&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq...

The Wiki page on Ksora says it is a traditional name, but doesn't give more detail. It references a 1995 Cambridge Guide to the Constellations.

Allen again does not use the name Ksora: http://books.google.com/books?id=_GUDis0bETgC&pg=PA148&lpg=PA148&...

Arich sounds like a good lead...now just to figure out what source Becvar got it from, or maybe he was just reading Greek mythology and liked the name...


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5649372 - 01/28/13 10:17 PM

Wow, that is contextually misleading.

I also checked a scanned pdf of the first edition of the work. Same as the linked version so far.

Here's a source that claims not only that Hatsya is a "traditional name" for Iota Orionis, but also that it is sometimes misspelled Hatysa.

http://bethulah.blogspot.com/2008/09/orion-9.html

I'll bet that if we check old astrological (Middle Ages) sources we'll find some "hits" for these "lost" star names.

More research is in order.

UPDATE: Astrology forums are full of examples of use of these Becvar "lost names" for the cited stars.

Example for "Kuma":

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thefixedstars/message/6346

"North Node



*Kisaba (Theta Apodis)

Kuma (Nu-1 Draconis)

*Han (Zeta Ophiuchi)

*Rho Ophiuchi

*Antares (Alpha Scorpii)

*Shark's Jaws Nebula (King 1-3 Scorpii)

*Gatria (Gamma Trianguli Australe)"

I'll bet these are names (probably derived from Babylonian or old Persian) from astrological sources. Astronomy and astrology weren't really differentiated until the last few hundred years. Even Isaac Newton believed to some extent in mumbo-jumbo and mysticism.

Incidentally I also found references to Archid and Hasseleh on that astrology site, though no reference to Arich interestingly enough.

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (01/28/13 10:39 PM)


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5649415 - 01/28/13 10:42 PM

More evidence of astrological origins for some of these hard to place star names:

http://www.constellationsofwords.com/stars/Stars_alphabet.htm

Note: I am in no way endorsing, condoning or indicating any affinity for astrological beliefs. I'm approaching this as a historian and etymologist, not as a crackpot. Not that I'm not a crackpot, mind you. It's just that I'm not the kind of crackpot that thanks his lucky stars.

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (01/28/13 10:55 PM)


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5649449 - 01/28/13 11:07 PM

Jim,
That is my suspicion as well....I have this fantasy that somewhere in the library at Skalnate Pleso there's an old star atlas that nobody has bothered looking at in years, and there those 14 names will be. Since my wife is from Slovakia I might actually have a chance to pursue this.

However it might not be that easy. In an appendix to one of the more recent editions of A Dictionary of Modern Star Names, Smart wrote that Paul Kunitsch, the book's co-author, spent 15 years researching and interviewing Czech and Slovak astronomers who worked with Becvar for some clue of the 14 names, and came up with zilch. Since star names, in particular Arabic star names, were his expertise, I'm assuming he had access to a lot of old star maps. I might write to him to get a better sense of what he did, so I don't recreate the wheel.


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5649474 - 01/28/13 11:23 PM

I have a theory on "Kaffa". I found another reference to a "Kaffa". "Kaffaljidhma" or Gamma Ceti derives from Arabic, "Al Kaff al Jidhmah". Your Kaffa probably derives from some other "Kaff al..." designation.

Also check out Jim Kaler's site.

http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/sowlist.html

He has interesting things to say about some of your strange names. He agrees that some are indeed strange. He goes so far as to say of Achird: "The proper name "Achird" seems to have been applied in recent times and has no clear meaning, one unsupported source suggesting "girdle.""

Interesting stuff.

- Jim


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5649563 - 01/29/13 12:27 AM

Hmmm...

This brings us the interesting question of how the history of Slavic astronomy compares with the astronomy history of other regions? Is it possible that some star names have a deep history within Slavic astronomy, that is not shared by either the Greek or Arabic astronomy histories? For myself, I know nothing about the history of Slavic astronomy--and next to nothing about Greek and Arabic astronomy histories. Is something written up in print or on the Internet about the history of Slavic astronomy?

*****

The brief wikipedia article Serbian folk astronomy states "Stars are anthropomorphised as women, sometimes described as sisters of Sun and Moon.[7]"

    [7] Kuliić, piro (1970). "Звезде". In Kuliić, piro; Petrović, Petar .; Pantelić, Nikola (in Serbian). Српски митолошки речник. Belgrade: Nolit. pp. 136.

Does gender play a role in the naming of stars in Greek or Arabian astronomy?

I agree more research is needed.


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5649598 - 01/29/13 01:19 AM

Looks like this website also has some information about Slavic Folk Astronomy: Archaeoastronomy of Europe, Slavic, and Asia and the Pacific: A Biblography by David S. P. Dearborn.

    Slavic Literature

    Gladyszowa, Maria
    1960 Wiedza ludowa o gwiazdach (Folk knowledge about stars), Wroclaw. Jankovic, Nenad Dj
    1951 Astronomija u predanjima, obicajima i umotvorinama Srba (Astronomy in the lore, customs, and the folk wisdom of the Serbs), Belgrade.

    Kale, Jadran
    1995 Izvori za etnoastronomiju (Sources for ethnoastronomy), Kucerin zbornik, 103120. Sibenik (Croatia).

    Maticetov, Milko
    1972 Slovenska ljudska imena zvezd in predstave o njih (Slovenian folk-names of the stars and their perception). In: Anzeiger fuer Slavische Philologie 6:60103. Wiesbaden.

    Rut, Mariia Eduardovna
    1987 Russkaia narodnaia astronimiia (Russian folk astronomy). Sverdlovsk.


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5650374 - 01/29/13 01:51 PM

Great questions, Bob.

Though it's not clear that the Slavic sounding names among the 14 are really Slavic, and it seems that several of them are not Slavic in origin (Hasseleh, for example).

On the other hand, based on comments on Jim Kaler's excellent site, linked earlier, I am going to back off of my Medieval astrological origin theory a bit. Though Jim doesn't "show his work" he's clearly a guy in the know when it comes to space place names. He wrote the book(s), literally.

For many of the Becvar 14 names, Kaler claims that they are of modern origin (suggesting along the lines of Doug's original post, that Becvar might have made some of them up). I haven't given up entirely, though. I'm looking for fixed star sidereal astrology references to these names that predate Becvar's Atlas. I think that would tend to dispel the notion that he made them up and, potentially, that they derive from Slavic mythology. Haven't found a smoking gun yet, though, and it's just as likely that I won't find one. The irony or ironies (for me) will be if we find that these are indeed of Becvarian origins, and that the modern psuedo-scientific sidereal astrologers leveraged Becvar's atlas for star names.

The thrill is in the hunt anyway.

- Jim


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5650398 - 01/29/13 02:00 PM

More stuff...

Becvar lists Eta Cas as "Segin". But Eta Cas is not the only star to have "Segin" as a traditional name. Apparently Gamma Bootes has also variously been known as "Segin, Seginus and Ceginus". Ironically Becvar dubs Segin in Bootes "Haris".

My point, though, is that that name, at least, Segin, cannot be attributed to Becvar as (a) Gamma Bootes has had that name or a clear derivative applied to it as well, and (b) Becvar clearly didn't apply that derivative since instead he called that star by the mysterious name "Haris".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%93_Bo%C3%B6tis

"Gamma Botis (γ Boo, γ Botis) is a star in the constellation Botes. It has the traditional name Seginus (also Segin, Ceginus) of uncertain origin. It was listed as Haris in Bečvř."

And:

"The name Seginus resulted from Latinization of an Arabic form of the Greek name of the constellation of Botes (Theguius). The name Haris comes from the Arabic name of the constellation of Botes, Al Haris Al Sama, which means "the guard"."

It gives alleged origins for both Segin and Haris. If believed, Haris is an Arabic derivative that clearly predates Becvar, though that begs the question of whether Haris, which was part of a name that referred to the constellation as a whole in Arabic, was ever used prior to Becvar for this solitary star?

Regards,

Jim


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5650425 - 01/29/13 02:13 PM Attachment (8 downloads)

Definitely seems like a solid link between Haris and the name of the constellation...that would be a big coincidence if there wasn't a connection. Here is the page from Smart and Kunitsch about the Becvar 14.

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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5650471 - 01/29/13 02:42 PM

It occurs to me that another of the problems we may face in nailing these down is that of compound transliteration. For example, a star might start with and ancient Greek name, then the ancient Arabs might transliterate it into something freer flowing in Atabic, then along come the Romans, who then transliterate the Arabic transliteration into something vaguely Latin-esque. It makes derivation of the source from the current name very, very tricky.

Were also dealing with more than one issue with the Becvar 14. Specifically, even if we can find other examples of stars sharing one of the Becvar names, we don't know if it was Becvar "borrowing" those names from one constellation and being the first to apply it to a star in another constellation (example: Segin in Bootes versus Becvar's Segin in Cassiopeia), or if in some cases he really did make up the names or derive them from some regional mythology or tradition.

This is a fun project to work on between calls, negotiations and meetings. It certainly makes my day more enjoyable.

- Jim


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5650727 - 01/29/13 04:50 PM

Another thought; while Greek, Arabic and Roman traditions certainly predominate in modern astronomical naming, these are not the only rich, lettered astronomical traditions. The ancient Egyptians. Phonecians and Mesopotamians, and later Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Aramaic speaking peoples were all literate and had astronomical/astrological traditions.

Here's a great study on identfying Vedi star names from literature with particular stars using a set of assumptions about the location and capabilities (naked eye; India, etc.) of the authors of the writings and a modern astronomy program called Lodestar.

http://www.vedicastronomy.net/stars_conclusion.htm

Here are a couple of their findings. Porimma (Arich in Becvar) is the Vedic Hastaa. Could Haasta transliterate via an intermediate carrier language into Arich?

The Phonecian peoples were great mariners. Perhaps the finest of antiquity. It is inconceivable that they would not have star names used in celestial navigation. Phonecian is a progenitor language for Canaanite, Aramaic and Hebrew. Could some of these terms have derived from Phonecian or other non-Arabic eastern Mediterranean/Anatolian language/mythology?

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (01/29/13 07:31 PM)


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5650989 - 01/29/13 07:27 PM

Okay, I have a working theory for "Kuma" (Nu Draconis).

Kuma and several other stars, notably Rastaban, Arrakis, Grumium and El Tanin, according to Allen, were known in Arabic as "Al Alwaid" or "the Mother Camels", denoting a grouping or collection of things (camels in this case) together. This later morphed into "Quinque Dromedarii" (i.e., the "Five Camels"), underscoring the notion that this is a related, collected group of like things. Hold that thought for a moment.

There are a number of star groups mentioned in the Talmud, contemporaneous Syriac writings and, later, the Bible. One star group, Kesil, is mentioned twice in the Book of Job. (Note that I am not endorsing any particular belief system, but relaying a facts about a piece of literature). The Vulgate Bibles botch association of Kimah, translating it as "Arcturus", but the Hebrew term and contemporaneous Semitic non-Hebrew equivalents make it clear than Kimah refers to a group of stars, the Pleiades, and not a single star (e.g., Arcturus). The other star grouping mentioned in the passage is Kesil, which is associated with Orion without much dispute. Thus we have an ancient Semitic term, Kimah, being used to refer to a collection of stars, the Pleiades.

Based on solid etymological research, "Kimah" is related to or even derived from the Arabic term, "Kum" and Assyrian term "Kamu". "Kum" means to accumulate and "Kamu" means to bind. The specific Talmudic reference to Kimah is to the "chains of Kimah".

Kum, Kamu and Kimah, then, all refer to a collection of things. In the astronomical/astrological sense, the reference is to a closely associated grouping of stars. The Pleiades are seven sisters. The grouping of stars at the head of Draco was viewed as a group of camels since pre-Islamic antiquity (Al Alwaid or Mother Camels). What draws or holds a group of camels (or sisters) together? Some form of connection, attraction or relation, or, in the case of camels, some form of *binding*.

Ergo, might not "Kuma" derive from "Kum" (to accumulate) and Kamu (to bind) and have been a reference to the grouping of five camels which, as we've seen with other star names that originated as a group or constellation name, through time became associated with one star in the group rather than the group as a whole?

If it's copacetic to derive "Kimah" from "Kum" and "Kamu", deriving "Kuma" from Kum, and Kamu and Kimah isn't all that far fetched.



- Jim


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5651023 - 01/29/13 07:44 PM

Jim...

You definitely are on a roll--please keep it up as your schedule permits.



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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5651037 - 01/29/13 07:51 PM

Here is an interesting webpage on Arabic Star Names from the World Islamic Intellectual Forum.

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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5651417 - 01/29/13 11:48 PM

That's a very nifty website, Bob.

So I have some detail on Kraz. The "left-handed lynch pin" designation mentioned on the Kaler site actually relates to the Chinese name Tso Hea (Corvus is a Chariot in Chinese astronomical lore), not Kraz, so the latter remains mysterious.

Or...

It could be a derivation of Kruz (Czech) or Kriz (Slovak) for "Cross". Corvus, as a well-defined four cornered asterism could be viewed as a cruciform, and maybe some regional source familiar to Becvar (a) listed the constellation as "the Cross" at one point, but (b) later one star assumed the former whole asterism designation?

Or, better still...

Corvus is a Crow.

Kraska, is a polish word for the roller, a bird in the crow family. Maybe Kraz is a derivative/related term in Czech, Slovak or another Slavic language.

Kraz = Crow = Corvus works pretty well, and given Becvar's nationality, the Slavic angle fits nicely.



- Jim


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5651431 - 01/30/13 12:02 AM

Jim...

Good thoughts on Kraz. I think this points to Kraz being a unique word that Becvar originated himself. And a cool word it is: "Krazzz", if I may be so bold to add my Kentucky pronunciation. Here in Kentucky it is not enough to know the name of a thing. We must also pronounce the letters in such a way as to add extra meaning. We get that technique from our Scottish ancestors.

I also think Arich is another cool word--almost has a screeching sound to it. And apparently so do the publishers of the game Donkey Kong Country 3, who use Arich as the name of their giant red spider in Kremwood Forest, who is fought in a level called Arich's Ambush. My Kentucky pronunciation renders this as A-RICK. Yes, truly something to behold.

Thus, I am beginning to agree that Becvar originated some of the names in what we are calling the Becvar 14.


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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5651981 - 01/30/13 10:28 AM

There is a village in Armenia (former Soviet Socialist Republic) called "Harich". There is an old monastery there that dates to the 600s. The town name apparently has been referenced in western works and maps as "Arich" and "Harrich". Perhaps "Arich" is a word of Anatolian, Old Persian or Crimean linguistic origins?

I also see the proper name "Arich" in post-war Israeli immigration records, so the word could feasibly have Hebrew or Arabic roots. Also "arach" is a Hebrew word meaning "to prepare" and is also a proper name. If it rises before a brighter star in the vicinity it could be "preparing" the observer for the arrival of that star. There are stars named with terms that mean "announcer" and similar, but I think I have a better explanation...

Gamma Virginis is also known as Porrimma and Postvarta (in addition to the mysterious "Arich"). Porrima and Postvarta, both, are Camenae from Roman myth. These are minor goddesses wells, fountains and childbirth. There are four named Camenae: Carmenta, Egeria, Porrimma and Postvarta (with some variations in spelling), but no Arich.

But if we look at each of the Carmenae we discover something suggestive. The cult of Egeria (a Diana-like nymph figure) was centered around sacred groves including one in in Nemi, Italy. "Nemi" is a transliteration of "nemus Ariccium"; the groves of Ariccium. Ariccium or in modern Italian, Ariccia, is pronounced "A-RICH-I(UM or AH)". The Latin name for this commune in the Province of Rome, in fact, was "Aricia".

So we have Gamma Virgins being associated with various, different, Camenae. Perhaps Egeria, whose worship had a major center in Aricia, was also known as "Aricia" in ancient sources? "Aricia" to "Arich" isn't such a big jump linguistically, and the shared Camenae mythological connection with other names associated with the star is pretty suggestive to me.

It could also be a reference to the major goddess Diana, as one of her aspects was "Diana Aricina".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Nemorensis

So I'm still thinking that Becvar didn't make anything up, but rather was referring to some older source in his possession that may have Slavicized terms or associations for these stars that nonetheless originated in antiquity.

Kraz-to-Crow-from-Crovus, a crow.

Arich-to-Arcia/Aricium-from-a Camenae sibling to Porimma and Postvarta whose cult was based in Aricia outside of Rome.

If you look at how modern charts distort and transliterate Arabic to get to modern star names, and how those Arabic transliterations of Greek terms (such as from Ptolemy's Almagest) distort and permute the Greek, these are not far-fetched leaps culturally or linguistically IMO.

I feel a little like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who (incorrectly) relates random English terms back to Greek.

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (01/30/13 01:01 PM)


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5652134 - 01/30/13 11:46 AM

Jim...

Yes, linguistics is such an interesting field of study. Maybe you should change your screen name to Professor Higgins (from My Fair Lady).


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Starman1
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5654128 - 01/31/13 11:25 AM

Since nearly every brighter naked eye star has a name in one ethnic mythology or another, a true compendium of the derivation of all the names given for each star would be an encyclopedia in itself. And the constellations themselves are not in general agreement among various cultures.

That is, until the IAU set the names and boundaries were set in a series of enactments by the IAU between 1922 and 1930. Even some of the constellation names weren't officially set until then.

And, we tend to forget that many medieval chart makers weren't educated in the same sense we use that word today, so spellings varied all over the place, and especially Arabic names got heavily mangled and spelled a hundred different ways. With some names, the "first misspeller" of the name is lost in history--we only know the names of the "later misspellers".

And then there's the egos of the person doing the charts (Sualocin and Rotanev come to mind).

Which is why the modern Bayer letter/Flamsteed number system makes more sense for the amateur astronomer because they transcend culture and misspellings. Gamma Cassiopeiae may have a hundred names from different cultures, but all astronomers can refer to it as Gamma Cassiopeiae and eliminate any confusion. One of the most annoying things I've run into in the years I've done this was to have a list of alignment stars in a Celestron mount that were proper names only without the Bayer/Flamsteed equivalents. In many cases, I couldn't find a convenient atlas with the names on it, and had to look up every name in order to know where the blinkety-blank star was.

So, while I think this kind of cultural sleuthing is great and entertaining, it has little practical value for the amateur astronomer. Except for a handful of the brightest stars, learning the Bayer and/or Flamsteed numbers is going to be more relevant and easier to find on most star charts.

Not that I, myself, am not interested in the historical names and derivations; but it's because I'm interested in astronomy history as well as astrophysics and modern astronomy.


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Starman1]
      #5654215 - 01/31/13 12:08 PM

Don,
Don't think you'll get much disagreement here, at least, not from me! It's just a fun historical puzzle and interesting too because it was such a modern case of naming (or renaming if indeed the source is older but not known beyond the close circle around Becvar.) But this historical tangent would be next to impossible without Flamsteed/Bayer designations or some other common naming scheme...especially since star names are not consistent in relation to the stars who have that attribution.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Starman1]
      #5654904 - 01/31/13 07:08 PM

Quote:

Which is why the modern Bayer letter/Flamsteed number system makes more sense for the amateur astronomer because they transcend culture and misspellings.




Absolutely! The names are just fun.


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5655436 - 02/01/13 01:18 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Which is why the modern Bayer letter/Flamsteed number system makes more sense for the amateur astronomer because they transcend culture and misspellings.




Absolutely! The names are just fun.




I think a multi-cultural study of the night sky--the legends, lore, and name variations of individual stars and groups of stars--can be just as exciting as the observation of the night sky. That is why I am so thankful to both Doug and Jim for their interests and pursuit in this thread. Maybe some time we can all engage in a thread attempting to identify a bibliography of the cultural history of the sky: legends, lore, and names of stars, groups of stars, planets, and the Moon.

Tony Flanders has been including astronomy history in many of his most excellent SkyWeek broadcasts. I suggest you add watching these broadcasts to your weekly schedule. Thank you Tony and the S&T staff.


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5655986 - 02/01/13 10:06 AM

I agree. I also find star lore to be a powerful component of astronomy outreach programs. I want to connect people with the past, and I think the idea that stars somehow evoke stories resonates with people still. And of course they are stories, whether we are talking about lore or science. I especially enjoy non-Western star lore. Native American tales and Japanese...I think connecting people with the past in this way also helps give them the temporal sensitivity they need to better understand the time-scales that we are dealing with across the vast differences, when we get to the nitty-gritty science.

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jrbarnett
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5656817 - 02/01/13 05:29 PM

The night sky is the finest museum we have. Professional astronomy is a narrowly targeted pursuit focused on gathering data to prove and disprove scientific theories. Amateur astronomy is a different kettle of fish. We aren't constrained like our professional counterparts. There's no reason to believe that the current separation and PA of Sirius B is any more relevant to an amateur than what the ancient Elamites postulated about Venus.

We have the luxury of observing for pleasure. What pleases me and what pleases someone else may be two different things, and that's fine. For my part, though, if my observing was limited to simply looking at objects without multi-cultural and historical context, I'd be bored stiff in two second.

To me it seems a natural progression - I see "it", I wonder about "it", I then wonder what others have wondered about "it". Finally, I wonder what others who come after me will wonder about "it". It makes a brain big and a life rich IMO.

- Jim


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5657070 - 02/01/13 08:15 PM

Doug and Jim...

You both speak with such eloquence and sincerity about amateur astronomy. Thank you for sharing your personal opinions.


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BobinKy
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5658822 - 02/02/13 08:02 PM

Reflecting upon this thread, I reach for a book on the shelf, a title which I have yet to read.

    Echoes of the Ancient Skies: The Last Astronomy of Lost Civilizations by Dr. E. C. Krupp (1983, Harper & Row).

Flipping through the pages, looking at the many photographs and illustrations, I arrive at the end of the text to find these words.

    "The way we design universes today, with the observational approach of modern science, may differ from the sacred metaphors of our ancestors, but we all do it for the same reason: to comprehend the universe in a way that lets us feel at home in it" (p. 349).


Beyond this quote comes Dr. Krup's 30-page bibliography, divided among the following sections.

    General Archaeoastronomy
    General Astronomy
    History of Astronomy
    Star Lore and Ancient Calendars
    Mythology and Ancient Religion
    Shamanism and Prehistoric Religion
    Human Evolution
    The Ice Age Artists
    Megaliths
    The Celts and the Druids
    California Indians
    Other North American Indians
    Mesoamerica
    Peru
    South American Indians
    Egypt
    Mesopotamia
    China and Japan

I post a note in my calendar: "Read Echoes in 2013."


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Becvar's 14 star names new [Re: BobinKy]
      #5659511 - 02/03/13 08:35 AM

Bob,
I think I have to read that too. Sounds pretty wide-reaching...thanks for posting that.
cheers
doug


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