- Flamsteed designation
Flamsteed designations for
stars are similar to Bayer designations, except that they use numbers instead of Greek letters. Each star is assigned a number and the Latin genitiveof the constellationit lies in (see List of constellationsfor a list of constellations and the genitive forms of their names). Flamsteed designation contained 2554 stars.
The numbers were originally assigned in order of increasing
right ascensionwithin each constellation, but due to the effects of precessionthey are now slightly out of order in some places. This method of designating stars first appeared in a preliminary version of John Flamsteed's " Historia coelestis Britannica" which was published by Edmond Halleyand Isaac Newtonin 1712without Flamsteed's approval. The final version of Flamsteed's catalogue published in 1725after his death omitted any number designations altogether.
The designations gained popularity throughout the eighteenth century, and are now commonly used when no Bayer designation exists; however, where a Bayer designation does exist for a star it is used almost exclusively and the Flamsteed designation is almost never used. Examples of well-known stars which are usually referred to by their Flamsteed numbers include
51 Pegasi(see Extrasolar planet), and 61 Cygni(see Parallax).
There are examples of stars bearing Flamsteed designations for constellations in which they do not lie, just as there are for Bayer designations, because of the compromises that had to be made when the modern constellation boundaries were drawn up. It should also be noted that Flamsteed's catalogue covered only the stars visible from
Great Britain, and therefore stars of the far southern constellations have no Flamsteed numbers. (Two exceptions are the globular cluster 47 Tucanaeand the nearby star 82 Eridani, named in a major Southern Hemisphere catalog called "Uranometria Argentina" by Benjamin Gould.)
Some entries in Flamsteed's catalog are errors: for instance, Flamsteed observed Uranus in
1690but did not recognize it as a planetand entered it into his catalog as " 34 Tauri".
List of constellations
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