Stellar nomenclature is the manner in which stars and star systems are named. Since many races and cultures study stellar phenomena over the course of centuries and millennia, there are intricate forms for defining the various bodies perceived by astronomers.
Constellations and asterismsEdit
Multiple civilizations have developed constellations, which are groups of visible fixed phenomena in the sky of their planets that have special meanings or histories. These early separations have become the root of the names of the most prominent stars visible from Earth, although some stars were more simply named for their basic characteristics.
- Aldebaran - ancient term, "the follower", for its motion
- Deneb Kaitos - ancient term, "tail of Cetus (constellation)"
- Rigil Kentaurus - ancient term, "foot of the Centaur (constellation)"
On Earth, early star names simply described their places in constellations with approximate names based on the subject of the constellation or asterism. The rise of science gave new designations, still based on constellations, with numbers and letters assigned on the basis of the stars visibility and perceived importance. These scientific designation tended to use the genitive form of the constellation name based on ancient Greek and Roman terms.
- Alpha Centauri - Greek language lettered star, the prominent star of Centaurus constellation
- Gamma Trianguli - Greek lettered, the 3rd most prominent star of Triangulum constellation
- 14 Eridani - 14th numbered star of Eridanus constellation
- CN Leonis - Lettered star of Leo constellation
- Omicron-2 Eridani - 2nd star behind Omicron Eridani in a line of sight beginning at Earth
- L2 Puppis - 2nd star behind L Puppis in a line of sight beginning at Earth
As observers develop more advanced tools for viewing stars, and counting and measuring them, the number of individual names begin to dwarf the capacity of language, and stars may then be numbered on the basis of various details of their discovery.
- NGC 321 (Eminiar)
- NGC 400
- NGC 434 (Horatius)
- NGC 667
- NGC 4258
- NGC 5078
- NGC 6281
- NGC 7201 (Andrews' Star)
- NGC 8149
T'Lin's New CatalogEdit
Named for people or groupsEdit
A star may be named by or for the person who records its appearance from an astronomical perspective, or it may in turn be named by or for a explorer who visits or claims the phenomena.
Named for region or locationEdit
As space travel becomes common, distant catalogued stars may take on new importance as destinations, or points of interest. These stars may be named for the region they are in, with notations similar to constellation names.
- Gamma Hromi, part of Hromi cluster
Multiple stars that exist in the same system are usually lettered in scientific notation, unless they have individual given names that don't require distinction.