Arabic Star Names and Science Fiction

I’ve known for quite some time that major star names used in science are Arabic in origin, a testimony to the work of Muslim astronomers between the 9th and the 12th centuries, but I’ve never found an extensive list of current star names and their Arabic origin until I stumbled across the Jordanian Astronomical Society’s website with its great Arabic Star Names page.

Since I read and watch a lot of science fiction, I found it interesting that some of the names have appeared in contemporary SF. Not the well-known ones like Betelgeuse or Vega or Rigel, I’m talking about the not so well known star names.

Referring the the JAS list in the link above:

#133 Rukbat is the star which Anne McCaffrey’s Pern revolves around. It’s known as Alpha Sagittarii, so she did her homework by referring it to be in the “Sagittarius sector” although in the wiki article it mentions that the real Rukbat is a B-spectral class blue star instead of a G-class yellow star.

#01 Acamar, #108 Mintaka and #111 Mizar have indigenous sentient lifeforms that appeared in various episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation.

Frank Herbert however seemed to have referred to his Dune series’ Arrakis to star #45 which is Mu Draconis, instead of Canopus (Alpha Carinae) in the books.

Posted in Misc Sci-Fi, Trawling The Net and tagged .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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