Contributed Talk - Splinter Culture

Thursday, 16 September 2021, 16:30   (virtual Cult)

Ancient Skies and Stellarium - making cultural astronomical information easily accessible

Doris Vickers, Georg Zotti, Susanne Hoffmann, RĂ¼diger Schultz
Ancient Skies

Since ancient times, humans everywhere around the world have looked at the sky and tried to make sense of it. Their knowledge has been culturally encoded in vocabulary/ language, depictions, religion and mythology. To represent the various traditions and to make the information available to scientists and the general public, the idea for an "Ancient-Skies" database came about in 2007. The project aims to collect the astronomical knowledge of the various human cultures from primary sources in a web based repository with its contributions verified by specialists in the respective field. Unfortunately, in the first phase, progress has been slow and not many people were able to find the information. To make the information more accessible, a query tool for the "Ancient-Skies" database has been implemented in the popular desktop planetarium software "Stellarium". With its most recent version (0.21.1), Stellarium now offers the possibility to look up historical star names and information directly in their application. This paper will focus on the structure of information in the "Ancient Skies" database, the workflow how the information is put into and portrayed in the Ancient-Skies database and will then demonstrate what it looks like in Stellarium.