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And Gemini is the common Latin word for "twins" but also the special epithet of the mythological twins Castor and Pollux.Some sky atlas guides will use one variation of a constellations name while others may use another so be keep this in mind when using this reference guide.When these sailors ventured south of the equator, they saw stars that were not in Ptolemy's catalog and organized them into new constellations.Later, in the telescopic era, astronomers invented additional constellations to fill the gaps between the traditional ones — areas that were uninteresting to Ptolemy and the early European navigators because they contain no bright stars.Newly discovered variable stars are named after the constellation that contains them, and this only works if everyone agrees on the constellation boundaries.
Somehow, the Mesopotamian constellations were imported into ancient Greece, but there's no record of how or why this occurred.The comprehensive list of ancient constellations appeared in a book written around AD 150 by the Greco-Egyptian astronomer Claudius Ptolemy.This book, which summarized all of classical astronomy, is now known by its (entirely appropriate) Arabic name: Almagest, meaning "the Greatest." Astronomy was neglected in Europe for more than a millennium following the Almagest, but it revived in the 15th century, when European navigators started to explore unknown waters.Every constellation name has two forms: the nominative, for use when you're talking about the constellation itself, and the genitive, or possessive, which is used in star names.For instance, Hamal, the brightest star in the constellation Aries (nominative form), is also called Alpha Arietis (genitive form), meaning literally "the Alpha of Aries." When space is at a premium, this is written α Ari, using the lower-case Greek letter alpha and the abbreviation for Aries.