n MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - Sky Delights : A Bee, Apes or perhaps a Vespa

Volume 76 Number 11-12
  • ISSN : 0024-8266


In the 1690 Star Atlas, Johannes Hevelius contrived a northern fly-out of a small swarm of fainter stars hovering over the back of the constellation Aries, the Ram. Nearly 100 years earlier Dutchman Peters Plancius had devised a bee, which he called Apes, out of the same stars. The German Jacob Bartsch didn’t have the same bee in his bonnet, but in 1624 he renamed the group Vespa, the Wasp, and by the time we get to Hevelius, the bug lost its sting and had been consigned to Aries. Aries is one of the smallest constellations of ancient times.

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