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    Re: Curious star charts
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2020 Nov 16, 22:55 -0800

    Ed, you wrote:
    "with star asterisms and names, far more than the navigational set."

    When you say "far more than the navigational set", maybe you're referring to the constellation names? It's certainly over-detailed on that score. There are no "asterisms" shown (unless I missed one). The constellations are all official, but rather poorly drawn, and in a horribly "busy" fashion. Good freaking luck to anyone trying to learn the stars from these charts!

    The star names shown are a perfect match for the standard navigational stars, which strongly suggests that these star charts were part of some product intended specifically for celestial navigation usage, rather than for astronomers, professional or amateur. All of the star names are straight out of the standard list of 57 navigational stars from the post-1957 Nautical Almanac. There's even the shorthand "Zuben'ubi" for "Zubenelgenubi"  which is only found in The Nautical Almanac and works derived from it. No star names are shown, even for bright stars, except those in the standard list of 57. For example, we have Pollux, but no Castor. 

    There's one typo. Gacrux, already an absurd contraction of "Gamma Crux", is shown as Garux. Poor thing. That's the same star that was a victim of a classification bug, which was probably spelling based, for so many years in the old USNO web app.

    My best guess is that these charts were part of an alternative "star finder" device or system, almost certainly intended for celestial navigation. That's all I have so far.

    Frank Reed

       
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