Q:

Who named the stars Vega and Rigel?

A:

Quick Answer

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.

Know More

Full Answer

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.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • 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 do you call a group of stars?

    A:

    People typically refer to groups of stars in a pattern as constellations, but the accurate term is asterism; scientists refer to actual groups of stars as clusters and group individual stars by light magnitude. Because constellations are the standard observation grouping, astronomers refer to constellations when naming stars.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What makes stars shine?

    A:

    Stars shine because high temperatures and intense pressure at the core induces nuclear fusion, which releases energy in the form of light. Nuclear fusion happens when two atoms fuse together and create a new atom.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How many stars are in the Aquila constellation?

    A:

    The Aquila constellation has seven stars with known planets and has no Messier objects, according to Constellation Guide. Altair, or Alpha Aquilae is the brightest star in Aquila and the 12th brightest star in the sky,

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore