Ara: Altar of Wonder

The little-known constellation of the altar (Latin: Ara) might be a traditionalist’s favorite, if you can navigate the scorpion’s sting. Before worshipping, consider this altar was commissioned by the pagan gods of Olympus to commemorate their victory over the mythological Titans.

The main seven stars are south of Scorpio. To see it from the northern hemisphere, good luck. You’ll need to look south along the horizon before midnight in the summer months. Plus, you’ll need to be no further north than Miami, Brownsville or Honolulu.

Ara brushes against the Milky Way, but there is one amazing nebula to see. It’s not smoke from sacrifice or incense, but a wondrously complex interaction between a supernova remnant, interstellar gas clouds, and the energy output from a blue-white double star whose components are nearly touching. Tammy Plotner from Universe Today tells it in more detail.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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