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    Re: Peacock
    From: Gary LaPook
    Date: 2011 Mar 20, 11:17 -0700
    Also in the 1937 Nautical almanac there were stars with only the Bayer designation.e.g. Beta Crucis. Unfortunately  I don't have a complete copy of that almanc, I only have excerpts in the 1938 Bowditch so i can't check on Peacock or Avoir. But the excerpts lists stars by number and goes up to number 55 in the excerpts so the 1937 Nautical Almanac must have listed at least 55 stars.


    --- On Sun, 3/20/11, Frank Reed <FrankReed@HistoricalAtlas.com> wrote:

    From: Frank Reed <FrankReed@HistoricalAtlas.com>
    Subject: [NavList] Re: Peacock
    To: NavList@fer3.com
    Date: Sunday, March 20, 2011, 4:09 AM

    Of this account on Wikipedia,
    "It is also known by the name Peacock, which was assigned by Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office in the late 1930s during the creation of the Air Almanac, a navigational almanac for the Royal Air Force. Of the fifty-seven stars included in the new almanac, two had no classical names: Epsilon Carinae and Alpha Pavonis. The RAF insisted that all of the stars must have names, so new names were invented. "...

    ...I wrote previously:
    "That sounds to me like two different stories merged together."

    I checked last evening. In a British Air Almanac for 1943, there were fifty stars listed (not 57). As far as I have been able to determine, the list of 57 navigational stars that we use today originated (or more correctly, was finalized) in the American Nautical Almanac after the war. As for names, there were several southern stars in the British Air Almanac list at that time that were listed by Bayer designations (alpha+constellation). So the Wikipedia article is apparently incorrect. The source listed on the Wikipedia page is a privately published memoir of D.H. Sadler. Sadler was certainly someone who would have known the answer, but memoirs are, like the word itself suggests, based on memories. And unfortunately, memoirs often include memories which are wrong, especially on trivia like this. As for alpha Pavonis being known as "Peacock", it's quite possible that this name was coined in the 1930s. It's a "normal" naming convention: historically, the brightest star in a constellation was sometimes named for the constellation itself. For example, Altair was frequently called Aquila historically.


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