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 Updating on 11/06/2017


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Summary of this page


Last publications

Formation of our celestial vault

Sky representations and star lore in the different cultures

Thematic presentation

Project « The Sky, our common Heritage »



Listening at Arab Astronomy, after a Renaissance printing  


For optimizing the reading of the site, you may download:

1. the package of fonts URANOS / SELEFA by using following link:


2. the freeware  ACROBAT READER by clicking here

For any technical problem, contact in:

Stéphane Julisson : ستيفان جوليسون



Last publications in english 


Observations & commentaries to Ahmed Jallad on his work on Safaitic Zodiac, par Roland Laffitte, 10/10/2015.

The Southern Sky, from the Arabs to the Portuguese, near 1500

Roland Laffitte, Symposium 2014, Verkehrhaus Luzern / Lucerne / Lucerna, 1-5 Mai / May /maggio 2014.

(in French, German, English & Italian)

Celestial Imaginary, as a tool for astronomical knwledge, article issued in Planétariums, revue de l’APLF (Association des Planétariums de Langue Française), 2014, p. 75. (a more complete text is available in France)

Formation of our celestial vault : uranography, individual stars, constellations, planets, etc.

Celestial sphere is constituted of several strata:

* Mesopotamia gave us: premisses of the spheric form with its parts and its  metrology, the half of Greek classical 44 constellations, planet names taken up by Greeks, directly or via peoples of  Syria or these of Aramaic Language. 

* Hellenic and Latin civilisation bequeathed to us: the developped conception of celestial sphere, the formalisation into constellations with their mythology and some stars and plantes names.

* Arab civilisation brought us the two thirds of star names which conceal unknown figures and mythology.

* Modern Europe acheaved the division of the sphere in constellations which number was fixed to 88 par IAU (International Astronomical Union) in 1922-1930.

* The others civilisations and cultures regularly supply us nowadays with new time-honoured star names.   

Babylon, Mesopotamia

Ancient Near East

Ancient Egypt

Hellenic & Latin civilisation

Arab Civilisation & Medieval Orient

Modern Europe

& contemporary World astronomy

Others contributions

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Sky representations and star lore in the different cultures


Near & Middle East cultures


Subsaharian Africa & Indian Ocean

Japan & Corea

Amerindian cultures

Australia & Pacific Ocean

European cultures

Arab & Berber contemporary cultures


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Thematic presentations


Star Names Dictionary (in French)


Datas on Zodiac History

Datas on Lunar Mansions in the different cultures  (in French)

Compared sky parts in the different cultures

Mensual astronomical  Cards (in French)

Astrolabe, the mathematical instruments King (in French)

Materials for a study on astral names Near Orient sacred texts : Enûma Elish, Bible, Coran. (in French)

Celestial Sky figures & Sky lore, as a springboard for astronomical knowledge by Roland Laffitte

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Project :  « The Sky, our Common Heritage »


Out of the 88 constellations used by the International Union of Astronomy (IUA), 48 were already in existence in Ancient Greece, which itself inherited half of them from Babylon, in particular the twelve constel-lations of the zodiac. As for the stars, two-thirds are commonly known by Arabic names, the most famous being Aldebaran, Altair, Betelgueuse, Rigel and Vega.

The project in a nutshell

The idea is to create, for educational purposes, a comparative representation of the heavens in Mesopotamian, Greek, Arab and contemporary cultures. This would be made available to planetariums in countries all around the Mediterranean, and then adapted to other vehicles of communication: globes, planispheres, DVDs, websites, etc.

  The Selefa invites from now on all those wishing the success of this projet to patronate it or contribute to its study and set it up, and calls the institutions, associations and foundations ready to take up the challenge to build a partneship for its achievement. .

Acces to the Project (PdF)



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