Author Topic: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis  (Read 320 times)

Michael Zamora

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Re: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2018, 05:30:39 AM »
One of the stars whose pronunciation is just plain wrong is Spica.
In Latin, spica virginisis the ear of the virgin and is pronounced "spick'-uh wihr-gin'-ihs" where the g is a hard g and the i is a short vowel in every case.
We kept just the first part as the star's name, so it should be "Spick'-uh"
In all the romance languages derived from Latin the i is pronounced like "ee", so it could be "Speek'-uh"
So where in the world did "Spike'-uh" come from?
In English, the spelling for that pronunciation should be Spika or Spaike in some Germanic tongues.
So why doesn't everyone say "Spick'-uh"?
Is it possible someone mispronounced the name a couple hundred years ago in some classroom somewhere and it just stuck?

David Varnavas

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Re: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2018, 09:42:51 AM »
Quote
One of the stars whose pronunciation is just plain wrong is Spica.
In Latin, spica virginisis the ear of the virgin and is pronounced "spick'-uh wihr-gin'-ihs" where the g is a hard g and the i is a short vowel in every case.
(snip)
So where in the world did "Spike'-uh" come from?
In English, the spelling for that pronunciation should be Spika or Spaike in some Germanic tongues.
So why doesn't everyone say "Spick'-uh"?
Is it possible someone mispronounced the name a couple hundred years ago in some classroom somewhere and it just stuck?

I went through this in 1979 when I decided to name my then-new company after this star. I learned that the first syllable was pronounced differently in different parts of the world. I was familiar with it as "Speye". "Speek" was the most common. "Spick" had possible negative connotations due to it being a derogatory slang word in some places. So my guess is the "long I" version stuck unless the local language pronounced the "i" letter with an "ee" sound.

exjeraca

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Re: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2018, 11:18:02 AM »
Al Kaff Al Jidhmah is one of my favorites, meaning "part of a hand".

Another is Kullat Nunu, bucket or cord + fish.

indepmontla

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Re: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2018, 06:01:08 PM »
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Perhaps it pays to learn the 20 or 30 most common star names and then Bayer?

Go-To has crippled constellation and star name learning to a large extent in my opinion. Even if you have go-to, it's always a good, comforting feeling if you know your way around the sky. After all, the night sky is part of your hometown too.

I actually have a NexStar 4SE.  Go-To seemed fine until I started reading Sue French's column

Leon Ware

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Re: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2018, 05:52:22 AM »
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In terms of learning Greek lower case, Is it safe to assume that learning the first 8 - 10 letters should suffice?
The first seven or eight letters show up most often. But I can think of plenty of important stars that come later in the alphabet, such as Mu Cephei, a.k.a. Herschel's Garnet Star, one of the largest and reddest of all the naked-eye stars, and Mu and Nu Andromedae, which are critical for locating the Andromeda Galaxy.

There's also all the numerous Pi(n) Orionis stars, where (n) is a small number, which make up the bow or shield of Orion. But you undoubtedly already know lower-case Pi for other reasons ...

When you're star-hopping, it's really worth knowing all the lower-case Greek letters, so that you can say the names of the relevant stars to yourself as you read them on your charts. My auditory memory is better than my visual memory, and it also uses different mental channels, so using both increases the amount I can hold in short-term memory.

charnhoupito

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Re: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2018, 09:43:43 AM »
A couple cases of confusion that pop out to me without doing a bunch of digging are what I'd call "Mirfak" in Perseus is called "Algenib" in some of the old books, which to me is a star in Pegasus, and I've seen theta in Leo called "Coxa," "Chort," and "Chertan." Looking at books like Allen's "Star Names and Their Meanings" (although it's now considered an unreliable book,) shows MANY others. Still, I like knowing and using the old names. Much more fun than the cold-blooded greek letters and numbers.
 Marty

Guy Cleveland

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Re: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2018, 10:39:23 AM »
And do you remember which is Mirfak and which is Marfik?
Bayer letters and Flamsteed numbers are not always accurate (some are actually in adjoining constellations), but at least they are unambiguous.

olchakisur

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Re: Arcturus or Alpha Bootis
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2018, 10:48:25 AM »
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IMHO,Rasalhague is the coolest name.

I call your Rasalhague (aka raʾis al-ḥawwāorرأس الحواء) and raise you a Rasalgethi (aka ra‘is al-jāthī or رأس الجاثي)!

Rasalgethi also happens to be one of the loveliest magnitude-and-color contrasted double stars visible in most any telescope.
- Jim