Letter from Charles S. Peirce to U. S. Coast Survey
(Paris, 09.12.1875)

Spanish translation & annotations


Paris, 11
1875 Dec 9

Dear Sir,

I have received from the office a list of stars for observations of Latitude. I find it a very convenient catalogue. I see that the designations of stars which I used have been altered & I think not upon any fixed principle. As a new edition of this list is promised, I propose the following principles for the nomenclature of stars and I trust that if they are not followed I shall be honored with

a statement of the reasons for adopting other principles, & with an opportunity to argue the question.

1. The ruling principle must be to follow some rule in the designations of stars, and that rule which will occasion the lest confusion.

For stars north of the Tropic of Capricorn

2. Bayer is to be recognized as the sole authority for the use of the letters except capitals for variables. When Argelander and Baily agree, it will be unnecessary to consult Bayer; when they differ it will often be found that the inaccuracy of Bayer’s map is such that it is impossible to determine what star he means. In such case it is best to drop the letter entirely.

3. Certain letters have numbers attached to them and in regard to these numbers there is great confusion. When Bayer, in his text, states the number of stars,


& in his count reckons them as separate, that number should be considered as constituting the group. But in other cases such as Lyrae, it may be questioned what rule should be adopted. In the case of stars over 3’ distant and regarded as one by Bayer and both as bright as the 6.0 magnitude I would also use numbers. In other cases not.

4. For stars without Greek letters, Flamsteed’s numbers to be used and Baily to be considered as final authority in regard to them.

For other stars, I propose this new rule, to use Heis’s numers with a German. affixed as 153Cephei (which in the C. S. List is erroneusly printed 153 Cephei).

For stars south of the Tropic of Capricorn.

6. I would follow the B. A. C. in regard  to the letters.

7. I would use the numbers of Gould’s


new uranography if he gives numbers

For variable stars

8. I would always follow Schönfeld in the designation of these stars.

I have casually noted the following undoubted errors in the designations and magnitudes. None of these errors are due to my MS, I believe. It shows the list abounds in errors of this sort.


Errata in the C. S. Star List of 1875

118 = BAC 360=1 Ursae Minoris
2 = 21 Andromedae
3 = 11 Cassiepeae
43 = 30 Andromedae
45 = 31    "
47 = 18 Cassiepeae
74 = 27         "
83 = 69 Piscium
90 = 74 Piscium (?)
101 = 33 Cassiepeae
136 = Persei (greek ), not Persei (Roman v)
155 = For Aries read Arietis
216 = 36 H Cassiepeae and not 36 Cassiepeae
235 = For read
208 = Cassiepeae
382 = 153 Cephei and not 153 Cephei
513 = For Mag. 5.3 read 0.3
693 = 141B Monocerotis not Canis minoris
714 = 5 Canis minoris not 4
715 = 4    "     "          not 5
731 Mag. For 5.3 read 0.3
184 Mag. For 5.3 read 0.3
12711 Boötae
1273 2 Boötae
1457 For 1 read pr. ?
1458 For 2 read fol. ?



1484 For read símbolo pr.
1509 Dele 2
1564 Magnitud For 5.3, read 0.3.


Transcription by Max Fisch, revised by Sara Barrena (2013)
Una de las ventajas de los textos en formato electrónico respecto de los textos impresos es que pueden corregirse con gran facilidad mediante la colaboración activa de los lectores que adviertan erratas, errores o simplemente mejores traducciones. En este sentido agradeceríamos que se enviaran todas las sugerencias y correcciones a sbarrena@unav.es
Proyecto de investigación "Charles S. Peirce en Europa (1875-76): comunidad científica y correspondencia" (MCI: FFI2011-24340)

Fecha del documento: 26 de noviembre 2013
Última actualización: 3 de diciembre 2013
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