Star Tales: Revised and Expanded Edition

By Ian Ridpath

A revised and expanded edition of the classic introduction to the myths and legends associated with the stars and constellations.

ISBN: 9780718894788


Every night, a pageant of Greek mythology circles overhead. Perseus flies to the rescue of Andromeda, Orion faces the charge of the snorting Bull, and the ship of the Argonauts sails in search of the Golden Fleece. Constellations are the invention of human imagination, not of nature. They are an expression of the human desire to impress its own order upon the apparent chaos of the night sky. Modern science tells us that these twinkling points of light are glowing balls of gas, but the ancient Greeks, to whom we owe many of our constellations, knew nothing of this.

Ian Ridpath, award-winning astronomy writer and popularizer, has been intrigued by the myths of the stars for many years. Star Tales is the first modern guide to combine all the fascinating myths in one book, illustrated with the beautiful and evocative engravings from two of the leading star atlases: Johann Bode’s Uranographia of 1801 and John Flamsteed’s Atlas Coelestis of 1729. This classic book, now in a revised and expanded edition, presents additional information on the constellations with new and enchanting illustrations. For anyone interested in the stars and classical mythology, for anyone who is an armchair astronomer, this is the perfect gift.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 224
Illustrations b&w

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Ian Ridpath is an English writer and editor on astronomy and space. He is author of a standard series of observing guides for amateur astronomers: the Collins Stars & Planets Guide (known in the US as the Princeton Stars & Planets Field Guide); Collins Gem Stars; and The Monthly Sky Guide, all illustrated by Wil Tirion, the world’s foremost celestial cartographer. He is editor of the authoritative Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and of the last three editions of Norton’s Star Atlas, the longest-established and best-known star atlas in the world.

Ian is a recipient of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Klumpke-Roberts Award for ‘outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy’, the most prestigious award of its kind. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a member of the International Astronomical Union, where he serves on its Working Group on Star Names. His interests include collecting antique astronomy books, particularly star atlases.

His website is at



1. Stars and storytellers
2. Star maps
3. The celestial eighty-eight
4. Obsolete constellations

Sources and acknowledgements
Glossary of mythological characters


Endorsements and Reviews

In this highly readable Star Tales … Ridpath has splendidly combined astronomy with the lore of classical mythology.
Adrian Berry, in The Daily Telegraph

There is another way to look at [stars and galaxies] – as the creation of human imagination. … To help steer us round these wonders, Ridpath has produced Star Tales … a pleasant amalgam of sheer fancy and historical and scientific fact. The book will help us appreciate how we reached our present awareness.
Robin McKie, in Observer Sunday

Many readers will welcome this book of tales of the constellations . . . . [Ian Ridpath’s] list of sources is quite impressive, but the greatest value of the book must lie in the illustrations . … This is a book to enjoy. It is easily read and does successfully what it sets out to. Ridpath has already earned a reputation as a presenter of the celestial constellations and the real curiosities they contain. … Now we must see him as an authority on their entertainment value too.
Rosemary Naylor, Federation of Astronomical Societies

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautifully-illustrated book, and it will be a lovely reference book as well. It is meticulously researched and very well written, and I can recommend it to anyone interested in the constellations from a historical or mythological perspective.
Robert Connon Smith, in The Observatory, Vol 139, No 1269