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    Re: Constellation names
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2003 Nov 2, 10:16 +0000

    Sharon Blackwood wrote-
    >The names you mentioned are the commonly accepted "Rey's" method.
    >(H. A. Rey "The Stars: A New Way To See Them")  The book, for children
    >and adults, tries to depict more identifiable names for the constellations.
    >The Starry Night software also allows users to choose the "Rey" constellations
    >as well as Astronomical and Zodiac.
    >I find the "Rey" method confusing, but many people swear by it -
    >especially for teaching children.
    Thank you, Sharon, for a really useful comment.
    When you say "commonly accepted", and "many people swear by it", it would
    be interesting to know what point-of-view your are referring to. Is it from
    a US background, or where? From your mailing, I can only guess, from its
    It would also be of interest to learn, in rough terms, how recently this
    method was introduced and how widespread it has become. I have a niece who
    is a teacher and will ask her if that method is used in the UK.
    I've spoken about this matter with my brother-in-law Peter, who teaches
    juniors in New Zealand. He tells me that the constellation names he uses
    there haven't changed since he was a child. Many of them are invisible and
    unfamiliar to us Northerners, of course.
    We expect to see, and to recognise, our circumpolar stars any way up, but
    for those constellations nearer the equator, such as Orion, their
    orientation doesn't alter much. Being on the Equator, Orion is just as
    visible from New Zealand, and Peter explains an additional problem for them
    there. Seen from the South, Orion is always upside-down, and Peter points
    out that it's hard to respect, as a great warrior, someone who is always
    standing on his head. As a private arrangement between him and his class,
    then, they have renamed Orion "the Shopping-Trolley".
    contact George Huxtable by email at george@huxtable.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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