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    Re: Benetnasch and Alkaid revisited
    From: Bill B
    Date: 2005 Apr 9, 02:05 -0500

    > Peter wrote:
    > "Why do we have so many stars with Arabic names?"
    Frank responded:
    > In part, I think it's because so few Europeans and European descendants have
    > spoken Arabic historically. Part of the thing that makes a "proper name" sound
    > "proper" is its obscurity. If you had to look up in the sky and say "that star
    > is called 'The Knee'", it wouldn't seem like a proper name. But "Rigel"...
    > that sounds mysterious and foreign and it feels like a proper name  --only
    > because it's untranslated (and corrupted) Arabic.
    Much more simplistic than Frank's learned answer, but digestible: Because
    the Arabs named the stars they could observe from the northern hemisphere
    while they held and improved on the knowledge obtained from the ancients.
    The names stuck (tradition?) when the dark-ages ended.  Move far enough into
    the southern hemisphere, and the star names are less Arabic.

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