Moon Station Data for The Sky Level IV Version 5

The ZIP file which you can download below includes two databases: SeiShuku and KeyStarsY2. The first defines "constellation figures" for moon stations (Sei Shuku in Japanese) and the second provides labels associated with key stars for each station. They are in both TXT and SDB format (you can change and recompile the TXT files if you wish).

Anyone who has studied Chinese, Korean, or Japanese astronomical history knows the complexity of these celestial designations. Chosen stars for constellations (and key stars themselves) often varied according to precessional change, dynastic movement, divination practice, or reasons as simple as a particular calendar scholar or astrologer deciding on a "better ascetic". For these databases, the stars for the moon stations and related key stars are taken from a star chart drawn by Harumi Yasui in 1699 [See Watanabe, T. (1987) Kinsei Nihon Tenmon Gakushi; Vol II: Kansatsu Gijutsu Shi. (A View of Japanese History of Astronomy in Modern Times; Vol II: Techniques of Observation). Koseisha Kosaikaku, Tokyo]. Key stars will differ from a few of those chosen in earlier Japanese and Chinese maps.

On the whole, The Sky handles precession relatively well. It will not, however, deal well with the proper motion of any of the stars in these databases. As far as I know, these databases will not work with lower levels or versions of The Sky.

Given the above caveats, the moon station figures and key stars in these databases will give a good idea of how these "constellations" were drawn, and one can get an idea of how the sky was viewed in ancient China, Korea, and Japan. However, these databases should only be used for general exploratory study, and any simulation of historical configurations or coordinate systems should be viewed cautiously.

At a later time, I may add other constellations (especially circumpolar ones) and other alternative data sets for key stars. Again, anyone who has studied star chart making in East Asian Astronomy knows the complexity of such tasks.

DownLoad a ZIP file of databases for use with The Sky Level IV Version 5 software.

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