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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
Star Names
Their Lore and Meaning

Richard Hinckley Allen

as reprinted
in the Dover edition, 1963

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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 p376  Sextans Uraniae

was formed by Hevelius to commemorate the Sextant so successfully used by him in stellar measurements at Dantzig from 1658 to 1679. The  p377 original figure comprised the twelve unclaimed stars between Leo Hydra, west of Crater; and Smyth writes:

With more zeal than taste, he fixed the machine upon the Serpent's back, under the plea that the said Sextant was not in the most convenient situation, but that he placed it between Leo and Hydra because these animals were of a fiery nature, to speak with astrologers, and formed a sort of commemoration of the destruction of his instruments when his house at Dantzic was burnt in September, 1679; or, as he expresses it, when Vulcan overcame Urania.

Its inventor's great name has kept it in the sky till now, and it is still generally recognized by astronomers as Sextans.

Here, on the frame of the instrument, 9° south by east from the star Regulus, De Rheita thought that he had found a representation of the Sudarium Veronicae, the sacred handkerchief of Saint Veronica. Commenting upon this discovery, Sir John Herschel said that "many strange things were seen among the stars before the use of powerful telescopes became common."

The lucida, a 4th‑magnitude, is 12° south from Regulus.

One of the Sextant stars, which Reeves gives as q, Bode's 2306, a 6th‑magnitude, was the Chinese Tien Seang, the Heavenly Minister of State.

Argelander catalogues 17 naked-eye stars, and Heis 48.

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Page updated: 27 Sep 07