January 08, 2008

A Better Sky

starmap2.jpgI'm very fond of Strange Maps, but it focuses mainly on odd Earth maps. Here is an unusual sky map.

This is the revised sky map proposed by Sir Alan Patrick Herbert in 1944, intended to make people more interested in astronomy by making the stars and constellations easier to remember. He published it in the book A Better Sky. A review can be found in The Observatory 65, p. 150-1, 1944.

The basic idea is to throw out those old and strange star and constellation names in favor of modern, exciting names like The Sailor for Orion, renaming Betelgeuse Nelson and Rigel to Drake. Scorpio becomes The Painter, a new constellation named Europe Regained stretches from Paris (Vega) to Rome (Cor Caroli). And the great bear becomes Great Britain. Even Robespierre, Tamburlaine, Mussolini, Hitler, Atilla and Kublai Khan get their own constellation, The Tyrants.

Strangely, it was not a success.

Posted by Anders3 at January 8, 2008 04:39 PM