The Constellations: Background information when reading The Book of Heaven

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The Book of Heaven

by Patricia Storace

The Book of Heaven
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 384 pages
    Nov 2014, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Beyond the Book:
The Constellations

Photograph of Orion as seen by the naked eye (lines added) by Till CrednerThere are currently eighty-eight officially recognized and named constellations. According to one astronomy website there are, "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." (Some constellations include more than one creature which is why there are 90 creatures but only 88 constellations.) Included among them are the familiar constellations: Orion, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia and the signs of the Zodiac. But over the millennia and across cultures there have been hundreds, probably thousands, more, depending on who was connecting the heavenly dots and why. Assigning names and significance to the stars in the heavens is a practice that predates recorded history.

Even before humans could record stories in writing, they superstitiously looked to the skies for guidance. Those first guiding messages came in the form of direction from gods, or other ...

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