Institute of Astronomy

New Constellations for the Southern Sky!

Published on 11/04/2014 

We have just uploaded a scan to the University of Cambridge online repository.  The scan is of the 'new' constellations invented by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de La Caille (1713-1762).  After intensive observations at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, La Caille was able to draw up a detailed map of the Southern sky.  Because this area of the celestial sphere had not been accessible to ancient Greek astronomers, the 'classical' constellations, used by astronomers since antiquity did not go that far south.  Although, Dutch navigators had formed some Southern constellations, La Caille found many 'gaps' - which he plugged with new constellations, mostly named after scientific instruments, but one MENSA, after his observing site, overlooked by Table Mountain.  The scan is from "Coelum Australe Stelliferum", Paris 1763, a book held in the IoA Library.   The scan can be accessed here.

Page last updated: 11 April 2014 at 16:31