Bayer-Flamsteed Designations

When you point at a star in Sky View Café, often you'll see a code like "37 Gam Cyg", "19 Bet Ori" or "6 Alp-2 Cap" in the marquee. This is a shorthand notation for the Bayer-Flamsteed designations of the stars. The first number, if present, is the Flamsteed designation for a given star, which numbers the brighter, visible stars in a constellation in a sequence from west to east by right ascension. For example, "1 Kap Lyr" is the westernmost star in the constellation Lyra.

The three-letter code, which, if given, preceeds the code for a star's constellation, is an abbreviation of the name of a Greek letter -- the Bayer designation for a star. Bayer ranked the stars (not always precisely) by brightness, with the alpha star typically being the brightest in a given constellation, beta the second brightest, and so on, down through the Greek alphabet. If a star is a double star, a -1 or -2 is used after the Greek letter to distinguish between the two stars.

The last three-letters signify the constellation in which a star appears (see the list below). Without getting deeply into the intricacies of Latin grammar, when you read this style of star designation, you use the "genitive" form of the constellation name. For example the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, Vega, also goes by the designation "3 Alp Lyr", read "three alpha Lyrae". [back]


Abbrev.SymbolName
Alpalpha
Betbeta
Gamgamma
Deldelta
Epsepsilon
Zetzeta
Etaeta
Thetheta
Iotiota
Kapkappa
Lamlamda
Mu mu
Nu nu
Xi xi
Omiomicron
Pi pi
Rhorho
Sigsigma
Tautau
Upsupsilon
Phiphi
Chichi
Psipsi
Omeomega
Abbrev.ConstellationGenitive Form
AndAndromedaAndromedae
AntAntliaAntliae
ApsApusApodis
AqrAquariusAquarii
AqlAquilaAquilae
AraAraArae
AriAriesArietis
AurAurigaAurigae
BooBoötesBoötis
CaeCaelumCaeli
CamCamelopardusCamelopardalis
CapCapricornusCapricorni
CarCarinaCarinae
CasCassiopeiaCassiopeiae
CenCentaurusCentauri
CepCepheusCephei
CetCetusCeti
ChaChamaeleonChamaelontis
CirCircinusCircini
CMaCanis MajorCanis Majoris
CMiCanis MinorCanis Minoris
CncCancerCancri
ColColumbaColumbae
ComComa BerenicesComae Berenices
CrACorona AustrinaCoronae Austrinae
CrBCorona BorealisCoronae Borealis
CrtCraterCrateris
CruCruxCrucis
CrvCorvusCorvi
CVnCanes VenaticiCanum Venaticorum
CygCygnusCygni
DelDelphinusDelphini
DorDoradoDoradus
DraDracoDraconis
EquEquuleusEquulei
EriEridanusEridani
ForFornaxFornacis
GemGeminiGeminorum
GruGrusGruis
HerHerculesHerculis
HorHorologiumHorologii
HyaHydraHydrae
HyiHydrusHydri
IndIndusIndi
Abbrev.ConstellationGenitive Form
LacLacertaLacertae
LeoLeoLeonis
LepLepusLeporis
LibLibraLibrae
LMiLeo MinorLeonis Minoris
LupLupusLupi
LynLynxLyncis
LyrLyraLyrae
MenMensaMensae
MicMicroscopiumMicroscopii
MonMonocerosMonocerotis
MusMuscaMuscae
NorNormaNormae
OctOctansOctantis
OphOphiuchusOphiuchi
OriOrionOrionis
PavPavoPavonis
PegPegasusPegasi
PerPerseusPersei
PhePhoenixPhoenicis
PicPictorPictoris
PsAPiscis AustrinusPiscis Austrini
PscPicesPiscium
PupPuppisPuppis
PyxPyxisPyxidis
RetReticulumReticuli
ScoScorpiusScorpii
SclSculptorSculptoris
SctScutumScuti
SerSerpens*Serpentis
SexSextansSextantis
SgeSagittaSagittae
SgrSagittariusSagittarii
TauTaurusTauri
TelTelescopiumTelescopii
TrATriangulum AustraleTrianguli Australis
TriTriangulumTrianguli
TucTucanaTucanae
UMaUrsa MajorUrsae Majoris
UMiUrsa MinorUrsae Minoris
VelVelaVelorum
VirVirgoVirginis
VolVolansVolantis
VulVulpeculaVulpeculae
*Both Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda.

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11/29/2002 14:38