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ERIC Number: EJ859245
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0740-8404
The Mathematics of Starry Nights
Barman, Farshad
AMATYC Review, v30 n1 p10-17 Fall 2008
The mathematics for finding and plotting the locations of stars and constellations are available in many books on astronomy, but the steps involve mystifying and fragmented equations, calculations, and terminology. This paper will introduce an entirely new unified and cohesive technique that is easy to understand by mathematicians, and simple enough to fit on one line, and easy to program into a graphing calculator. The result will be a 2 x "n" matrix of star coordinates that will model the positions of naked-eye visible stars and constellations for a given date and time and location of the observer. This technique is based on coordinate transformations in R[superscript 3] and mapping from R[superscript 3] to R[superscript 2]. The precession of the equinoxes will be explained and included in the calculations, and will therefore make the star plots accurate for approximately two thousand years into the future or the past. This paper provides examples for the application of linear transformations and mappings, using one of the most natural physical phenomena, and is written for readers with limited knowledge of astronomy.
American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. 5983 Macon Cove, Memphis, TN 38134. Tel: 901-333-4643; Fax: 901-333-4651; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A