Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: Obscure Nautical Almanac star
    From: Robert H. van Gent
    Date: 2020 Dec 29, 11:44 +0000

    Hi Frank,


    At the moment I have no clue why Argûs had a circumflex over the ‘u’, I only had Latin for one year at school (long, long ago) but I can check some 19th-century star catalogues and atlases.


    You mentioned that the star was occasionally noted in whaler’s logbooks in the 1840s.


    This could be of interest for astronomers as there are very few reliable observations of the star during its eruptive phase, especially between the years 1838 (when John Herschel returned from Cape Town to England) and 1850.


    A comprehensive overview of the 19th-century observations of η Carinae was given by Robert T.A. Innes in the Revision of the Cape Photographic Durchmusterung (1903)




    Any observation of this star between 1838 and 1850 and especially those with a brightness or a colour estimate would significantly add to our knowledge of the star’s behaviour during its eruptive phase.


    Rob van Gent


    From: NavList@fer3.com <NavList@fer3.com> On Behalf Of Frank Reed
    Sent: Mon 28 December 2020 19:30
    To: Gent, R.H. van (Rob) <R.H.vanGent@uu.nl>
    Subject: [NavList] Re: Obscure Nautical Almanac star


    Rob van Gent, you wrote:
    "η Argûs?
    This star, now better known as Eta Carinae, indeed has no Hipparcos number but it does have a Tycho number (8626-2809-1) and was particularly bright in the 1840s."

    Yes, indeed! Eta Argus or Eta Carinae, which was one of the brightest stars in the sky from 1837 until about 1857. 

    Even in the early 20th century, the nautical almanacs frequently listed all those stars now split up in Vela, Puppis, and Carina as members of the constellation Argo (or Argo Navis). Eta Argus was around magnitude 7 or 8, useless for navigation, when it was listed in these almanacs. That's navigation nostalgia at work! It's slowly rising in brightness in recent years, and, who knows, maybe it will have another "Great Eruption" or even "go supernova" as often suggested.

    Rob, do you have any idea why the genitive Argûs has a circumflex over the "u"? Is (was) this a styling in "Modern Latin", too, or is it just a peculiar quirk in the typography for this defunct constellation? I haven't found any clues.

    Frank Reed

    View and reply to this message

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site