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    Re: The 57 Navigational Stars (and Zuben'ubi)
    From: Herbert Prinz
    Date: 2005 Apr 21, 14:18 -0400

    Frank R wrote:
    
    >I've pinned things down a bit today. In the American Nautical  Almanac for
    >1950, there is a list of 57 stars which is clearly the predecessor  of the
    >modern list. According to 'Bowditch', the list was refined to the modern  set in
    >1953 (but I haven't checked this).
    >
    I can confirm this. I still have the almanac for 1953, which I obtained
    to cast my horoscope.
    
    The list of 57 stars on the inside front cover of the American Nautical
    Almanac for the year 1953 (Washington, 1951) is indeed the same as
    nowadays. 8 items have footnotes indicating name or spelling changes:
    
    Atria (formerly Alpha Tri. Aust)
    Avior (formerly Epsilon Argus)
    Diphda (formerly Deneb Kaitos)
    Eltanin (formerly Etamin)
    Gacrux (formerly Gamma Crucis)
    Menkent (formerly Theta Centauri)
    Mirfak (formerly Marfak)
    Suhail (formerly Al Suhail)
    
     From the preface:
    
    "This volume of the American Nautical Almanac was prepared under the
    immediate supervision of G.M. Clemence and Glen H. Draper. The nature
    and the arrangement of the material are the same as in the volume for
    1952, with the following exceptions. The names of the stars have been
    added to the list (now in alphabetical order) on the daily pages, and
    the time of meridian transit is omitted. In order to eliminate
    variations of usage, the list of 57 stars has been revised, and a few of
    the names have been altered, as noted on the inside front cover."
    
    This answers your question as far as the date and authorship of the
    final version of the list of 57 navigational stars is concerned. Sorry
    for not checking earlier. I never guessed that the only volume of an old
    post-war almanac that I have sitting around would be relevant to your
    question.
    
    Herbert Prinz
    
    
    

       
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