November 15, 2010 #117 - Star-Names and Their Meanings

When I was a boy in the sixties I purchased a copy of Dover’s reprint of “Star-Names and Their Meanings” by Richard H. Allen. This was my first introduction to what the origins for the names of all those places I pointed my telescope at in the night sky.

Today the critics say that the volume is full of inaccuracies, that the author was not conversant in Arabic and many of his sources were incorrect. But, I learned a lot over the years from my much thumbed through copy.

Many times on a search through Google Books, you will hit a book that is an unexpected treat, that was not what you were looking for. Imagine my delight when I found the (1899) first edition scanned and offered for reading. If you would like a copy, go to


If you would like a more modern guide, check into a web site by Gary D. Thompson, of Melton West, Australia. He has gathered a lot of good information. I especially enjoyed looking at his pre-historic sky maps taken from archeological investigations.

Clear Sky - Rich

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