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.
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