Q:

Who named the stars Vega and Rigel?

A:

While no specific person is credited with naming the stars Vega and Rigel, both derive their name from Arabic terms. Rigel is one of the first stars to receive an Arabic name, possibly as early as the 10th century, while written records of Vega's name trace back to between 1215 to 1270 A.D. Rigel's scientific name is Beta Orionis, while Vega is known as either Alpha Lyrae or Lucida Lyrae.

Rigel's name derives from the Arabic phrase "Rijl Jauzah al Yusr??," roughly translating to "the left leg of the Jauzah," or "the left leg of the giant," possibly referring to its location in the constellation Orion. Rigel was called different names by early observers of the stars, including "Seba-en-Sah" by the ancient Egyptians, "The Seventh of the Three Stars" by the Chinese and "Little Woodpecker" by the Lacandon people of Central America.

Vega's name comes from the Arabic phrase "Al Nesr al Waki," meaning "The Falling Eagle." The first written record of the name occurs in the Alfonsine Tables created in medieval Spain. Vega, like Rigel, was known by different names in different ancient, star-gazing cultures, including "The Year Star" by the Polynesians, "Judge of Heaven" by the Assyrians and the mythical character "Weaving Girl" by the Chinese.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Who discovered the Scorpius constellation?

    A:

    The discovery of the Scorpius constellation is credited to the famous Greco-Egyptian astronomer Claudius Ptolemy. He documented it in the 2nd century CE. However, civilizations predating the Greeks may have known about Scorpius. Roughly 3,000 years before Ptolemy, it was known as "The Scorpion" by the Babylonians.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How many stars make up Pegasus?

    A:

    The constellation Pegasus contains at least 16 stars of magnitude 4 or brighter. Three of the four stars in the Great Square belong to Pegasus. Alpheratz, the star at the northeast corner of the square, was designated as the alpha star of the constellation Andromeda.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the major stars in the Aries constellation?

    A:

    There are three brightest stars in the Aries constellation are Alpha Arietis, Beta Arietis, and Gamma Arietis. Alpha Arietis, which is also known as Hamal, is the brightest out of the three, and is referred to as the orange giant. It is 66 light-years away from Earth, and has an orbiting planet that has a greater mass than the planet Jupiter.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do scientists classify stars?

    A:

    Stars are categorized into seven stellar classes based on their surface temperature, as explained by the HyperPhysics Department at Georgia State University. Each spectral class has its own letter and set of characteristics.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore