Guildford Astronomical Society

Ian Ridpath

Ian has been a full-time writer, broadcaster, and lecturer on astronomy and space since 1972. Previously he worked at the University of London Observatory and in publishing. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (Council member 2004–07), as well as a member of the Society of Authors and of the Association of British Science Writers. Ian runs his own desktop publishing system for producing books and magazines and is the author of well over 40 titles as author or editor including several recent editions of the classic Norton's Star Atlas.

For more background on Ian see his website.

DateTalk at GAS meeting
4 Mar 2010Pictures in the sky

"The origin and history of the constellations"

In the days before writing, storytellers used the sky as a picture book to illustrate their tales of gods, mythical heroes and fabulous beasts. Those pictures among the stars were the origin of our system of constellations. Today, the entire sky is divided into 88 constellations of varying shapes and sizes. This talk, which includes illustrations from some of the world’s greatest star atlases, will trace the origin of the constellation system back to Greek times and explain who filled in the gaps between the ancient Greek figures, who decided on the official boundaries between constellations, and how the names of certain stars came about.