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caeruleancentaur wrote:
>> "Paul Schleitwiler, FCM" <pjschleitwilerfcm@...> wrote:
> 
>> Okay. Good luck. I would suggest contacting an astronomy group, but 
>> it is a rare request. What do you need it for?
> 
> I'm trying to figure out what figures might have been available in the 
> past for zodiac signs for my conculture. I guess it really doesn't 
> matter. There are so many stars that anybody can see anything he wants 
> in them. The constellations of today only vaguely resemble what they're 
> named for. I suspect that, at least in some cases, the name was chosen 
> before the constellation was found. "I'd like to have a lion in the 
> sky. Let me see if I can find a star formation that looks like a lion!"
> 
> Charlie

Many of the bright stars zip across the sky pretty quickly. I've got 
Starry Night Pro running now, which only goes back to 99998 BC, and 
there are some pretty drastic changes. Arcturus is in Draco, between 
Aldhibain (Eta) and Rastaban (Beta), which haven't moved much. Pollux 
and Procyon are near each other in Cancer, while Sirius has moved into 
Gemini and Castor is in Lynx. Orion, on the other hand, has changed very 
little. Many of the bright stars in Scorpius, including Antares, also 
are close to their current positions. Other bright stars that don't 
appear to have moved much include Deneb, Canopus, Spica, Polaris, Hadar 
(Beta Centauri), and Alphard (Alpha Hydri).

Going back millions of years, even many of these relatively distant 
stars will have moved quite a bit, and I don't even know enough to have 
any idea how accurate are the projections that go back a few thousands 
of years. Probably the motions of the nearer and faster-moving stars are 
known more accurately than the more distant ones. But this program 
doesn't adjust the distance or magnitude of even the nearest stars over 
time as they move through the sky, so there are bound to be errors the 
further you get from the present time. Probably many of the stars that 
would be prominent in the Pleistocene would be dimmer today and vice versa.

At one time I had the idea of naming the constellations as they might 
appear from the Mizarian home world and other nearby stars (such as 
Procyon, where the Jarda speakers were supposed to live), but I never 
got very far with that idea.