At its first meeting in 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), officially adopted the list of 88 constellations that we use today. These include 14 men and women, 9 birds, two insects, 19 land animals, 10 water creatures, two centaurs, one head of hair, a serpent, a dragon, a flying horse, a river and 29 inanimate objects. As many of us have (frustratingly) witnessed first hand while star-gazing - most of these bear little resemblance to their supposed figures. Instead, it is more likely that the ancient constellation-makers meant them to be symbolic, a kind of celestial “Hall of Fame” for their favorite animals or heroes.
This begs two questions I sought to answer with this old post of mine on Wolfram Community:
- Can we ‘do better’ now with Wolfram Language’s
StarDatacurated data and Machine Learning functionality?
- What if the ancient constellation-makers were slightly more creative? Say they looked up at the sky, and only saw yoga-poses!