Category Archives: constellations

A Snake, Handled

I think reptiles–snakes in particular–get a bad rap. Or is it rep? Amphibians are slimy, but reptiles are warm and dry. Human beings have a thing against things that are different. Two legs good, no legs bad–stuff like that. And … Continue reading

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Music In The Heavens

In pop culture, the star Vega is the source of the extra-terrestrial transmission that ultimately sends actor Jodie Foster on her wormhole journey to first contact. Why the aliens or author Carl Sagan would choose that star, who knows? It’s … Continue reading

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Which Virgin?

There is much pagan mythology connected to the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere’s night sky. If any of you readers indulge your “horrorscope” you might recognize Virgo, designated a virgin. Perhaps regrettably, this rather large grouping of stars does not … Continue reading

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A Tempter In The Sky

Christians know well the story of Genesis 3. The serpent is the first villain in the Bible.  At the end of the story, punishments are delivered. Early Christians imagined the extended and winding constellation wrapping around the pole star to … Continue reading

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The High Queen of Late Night

One of the first star patterns I recognized as a young lad was the “W” (or “M,” from another perspective) opposite Ursa Major (The Big Dipper) from the north star’s constellation, Ursa Minor. These days, a northern hemisphere viewer will see this … Continue reading

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Coma, As In Hair, Not Sleep

I like the mythological stories connected to the constellations of Earth’s sky. Often enough, some mortal gets rewarded for some effort of derring-do and in death ascends to the night sky to be admired and imitated by future generations. What … Continue reading

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Camelopardalis: Inside the Spots

I did not stay up to view the rocky debris that appeared to originate from the northern sky the other night. Universe Today has this detailed report from Minnesota. The Camelopardalid meteor shower may be new, but I have known … Continue reading

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Looking Up At Two Crosses

Did you know there are two crosses in Earth’s sky? This image from Astronomy Picture of the Day today captures both of them. But you have to get as far south as Hawaii. We talked about one of the crosses … Continue reading

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The Fish Enthrone a King

King of the planets, that is. If you are looking up in the night sky these days at that bright object high in the sky, behold Jupiter. It’s well placed for viewing, being on the opposite side of the sun … Continue reading

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Getting Bullish on Star Clusters

Astronomers now believe that most stars are formed in clusters. Giant interstellar clouds of gas and dust produce dozens to hundreds of stars in fairly close associations. Then over millions of years, these families become more diffuse as the gravity … Continue reading

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The Dogs of Winter

Last night was an amazingly good night for skywatching. The (earthbound) dog and I went for a walk a few blocks from the house. Temperature was in the teens and a bitter wind was cutting into my coat from the … Continue reading

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Chasing Rabbits

The family dog and I have been enjoying (or enduring) nightly walks this winter, usually when I get home from an evening meeting or before I go to bed. We live in a curious neighborhood a bit over a mile … Continue reading

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Two At The Foot of the Cross

Tammy Plotner writes at Universe Today today: Summertime conjures up great images of enjoying a double dip ice cream cone, and what more wonderful way to enjoy than with two flavors? Would you like to have some fun while the … Continue reading

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Crab Holding The Beehive

We took a break from packing last night and went to the astronomy society’s public opening for Summer ’08. The Powell Observatory is an amazing site to visit. It houses our club’s telescopes and a 30-seat room for weekly presentations … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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