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DarkLane

Map markings on stellar charts

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Hi, could someone explain to me what the greek symbols on stellar maps are for? Here´s an example:  Spica is denoted with an aleph, and the symbols continue through the constellation.  I can´t find much info on them because I´m not sure what I´m searching for. 
virgo-iau.jpg

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It is a way of naming and (usually) classifying the brighter stars in a constellation. The brightest star in the constellation of Virgo is called Alpha Virginis (Spica). As you can see, it is not always an accurate way of classifying the brightest stars in a constellation: Beta Virginis is not the second brightest star in Virgo.

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Posted (edited)

The greek letters were assigned by Johan Bayer in 1603, in his star atlas Uranometria.  There is more info on Wikipedia under "Bayer designation".

Edited by Oldfort

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