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by Michael Erlewine

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Bayer Number [Astro*Index]

A means of cataloging stars. Johann Bayer assigned Greek letter designations to the brightest stars in each of the constellations. Generally, the brighter the star, the earlier the letter in the alphabet, the alpha star being the brightest. The latin genitive form of the constellation name (such as Leonis for Leo) is appended to the Greek letter.


See also: ♦ Stars


Bayer, Johann [Astro*Index]

(1572-1625) German astronomer.

He published star catalogues, assigning Greek letters to the brightest stars of each constellation, arranged in descending order of brightness. Thus, the star Betelgeuse, the brightest star of Orion, became Alpha Orionis, while Rigel and Bellatrix became Beta Orionis and Gamma Orionis, respectively. Note that the genitive case of the constellation name is used. An amateur Protestant theologian, he attempted to rename the northern constellations with names taken from the New Testament, those of the southern constellations with names from the Old Testament.


See also: ♦ Stars


Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine

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