COMMON CONSTELLATIONS

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COMMON CONSTELLATIONS Powered By Docstoc
					     COMMON
  CONSTELLATIONS
CONSTELLATIONS WE CAN SEE
    FROM ORWIGSBURG,
      PENNSYLVANIA
BIG DIPPER AND
 COMPANIONS
URSA MAJOR INFORMATION
• Ursa Major is the best known of the constellation and it
  appears in every reference known.
• Calisto was changed to a bear because of Zeus's
  jealousy and transferred her to the sky. This is
  improbable, as the constellation was already well
  established before this time.
• The drawings all show a bear with a long tail, again not
  likely correct since bears have no tails. The most likely
  explanation for the bears and one which I find intriguing
  is the fact that Native Americans called the
  constellations the bear, but instead of the tail they
  depict the bear being chased around the pole by seven
  braves.
• Ursa Minor is a cub of the mother bear, all of this I find
  fascinating as it is the same story in Asia, could it be
  that the stories are similar because of common ancestry
  or contact between the two races?
           FOLLOW THE DRINKING
•
                 GOURD
    Nonetheless, slaves knew perfectly well freedom lay to the north, and they knew how to
    locate north. They used the North Star, or as it is more correctly named, Polaris. Polaris
    lies almost directly north in the sky. Slaves fled using the simple direction "walk towards
    the North Star." However, unable to plan a route, they risked walking into impassable or
    dangerous terrain.
•   Members of the Underground Railroad were fully aware of the predicament of fleeing
    slaves. About 1831 the Railroad began to send travelers into the South to secretly teach
    slaves specific routes they could navigate using Polaris. By the beginning of the Civil War
    in 1861, about 500 people a year were traveling in the South teaching routes to slaves,
    and well established escape routes had been established. Scholars estimate that 60,000
    to 100,000 slaves successfully fled to freedom.
•   Polaris became a symbol of freedom to slaves as well as a guide star. As soon as they
    were old enough to understand, slave children were taught to locate Polaris by using the
    stars of the Big Dipper.
•   Slaves passed the travel instructions from plantation to plantation by song. Slaves
    brought from the tribal cultures of Africa the custom of creating songs to transmit factual
    information. In America slaves turned song into codes that secretly transmitted
    information they wished to keep from whites.
•   "Follow the Drinking Gourd" is a coded song that gives the route for an escape from
    Alabama and Mississippi. Of all the routes out of the Deep South, this is the only one for
    which the details survive. The route instructions were given to slaves by an old man
    named Peg Leg Joe. Working as an itinerant carpenter, he spent winters in the South,
    moving from plantation to plantation, teaching slaves this escape route. Unfortunately,
    we know nothing more about Peg Leg Joe.
ORION: THE MIGHTY
     HUNTER
      ORION INFORMATION
• Orion the Giant Hunter or Warrior, he was a giant so tall
  that he could wade through any sea, His first marriage
  ended when the boastfulness of his first wife got her
  banished to the underworld. He was blinded by a
  jealous father when he fell in love with a Greek
  princess, but regained his sight when an oracle told him
  to look into the sun at dawn. When he saw Aurora the
  goddess of dawn, they fell in love. All was well until
  Orion was stung by a Scorpion, he fell sick and died. In
  order to honor him and protect him from his enemy he
  rises in the east as his enemy, the Scorpion sets in the
  West. Orion is never seen at the same time as the
  Scorpion.
• Orion was used to predict the seasons, a midnight rising
  of Orion meant that the grapes were ready to harvest, a
  morning rising meant that Summer was beginning, and
  an evening rising that winter is here
    THE ORION NEBULA
•
INFORMATION ABOUT THE
     ORION NEBULA
                          • The Orion Nebula
                            • Orion Nebula
                                  •
•      Orion is also home to one of the most beautiful objects in the night sky, the Orion
       Nebula. The third "star" down in Orion's sword is not a star at all, but the Orion
     nebula. If you get a pair of binoculars and look closely at this "star", you will see not
        one, but many stars. This is a sight that is easy for anyone to see, even without a
    telescope. If you have a telescope, you will be able to make out some of the giant cloud
                                of gas that makes up this nebula.
       This nebula is also one of the very few places in the sky where the Hubble Space
     Telescope has been able to spot disks of dust around some the the young stars. Stars
                    with these disks may be forming their own solar systems.
TAURUS: THE BULL
    TAURUS INFORMATION
• Taurus is another of the earliest known constellations,
  and so also probably orginated from the Babylonians.
• To the Greeks, Taurus was one of the two bulls with
  brazen feet that were tamed by Jason of the Argonauts.
• In Taurean myth, Zeus swam out to Crete as a bull and
  seduced Eurpopa who bore a son, Minos, father of
  Minotaur, a half man and half bull monster. Minotaur
  was locked in a Labyrinth and ate human flesh.
  Minotaur was killed by Theseus when he was helped by
  Adiadne's ball of thread.
• Taurus was also referred to as being rich in maidens
  (the Hyades and the Pleiades, all daughters of Atlas).
THE CRAB NEBULA
INFORMATION ABOUT THE
     CRAB NEBULA
•    In 1054 A.D., Chinese astronomers wrote down that a "guest star" had suddenly
  appeared in their night skies. At the same time, Native Americans made drawings in at
least two places that appear to record the same event. What was somewhat casually noted
as a guest star was in fact a giant star that had violently exploded at the end of its life. An
   explosion of this type is called a supernova. The explosion was so large and so bright
    that it was visible in broad daylight for at least twenty-three days. It must have been
amazing! You can still see the remnants of this explosion in Taurus. It is called the Crab
                                            Nebula.
     The Crab Nebula is one of the most intensely studied and frequently photographed
   objects in the night sky. Almost every telescope has taken pictures of it because of its
   beauty. You can also see it with almost any telescope or good pair of binoculars, but
    don't expect the colors to be as brilliant as the ones in the picture we show. It's still
  worth seeing, though. Although this explosion happened almost a thousand years ago,

    the gases are still spreading out in space at a speed of thousands of miles per hour.
CYGNUS: THE SWAN
    THE SUMMER TRIANGLE
•   The Summer Triangle is another sign that lets us know that Summer is in full
     swing here in the Northern Hemisphere. On any clear summer evening, the
distinctive triangle formed by Deneb, Altair and Vega gives us another good reason
                  to go outside and enjoy the beauty of the night sky.
The last star in Cygnus' tail is Deneb, which is one corner of the Summer Triangle.
      After you have found Deneb, which should be easy to do, take a minute to
 appreciate this giant star. This is another of the supermassive stars that dwarf our
  small Sun. Deneb is more than a hundred times larger than our Sun and much,
much brighter although its great distance keeps us from seeing just how bright it is.
 After you have found Deneb, use our chart to locate Vega and Altair, which form
   the other two corners of the Summer Triangle. Vega is one of the very brightest
 stars on the sky, so it should be very easy to find whether you live in the city or the
    country. Vega was also a star in the movie "Contact", which was based on the
novel by Carl Sagan. In the fiction movie, Vega was the star that was the source of
                          radio signals detected here on Earth.
CANIS MAJOR: THE GREAT
     HUNTING DOG
    INFORMATION ABOUT
        CANIS MAJOR
• Every hunter needs hunting dogs as companions and the Great
  Hunter Orion is no exception. Orion has two dogs as companions,
 Canis Major (the Great Dog) and Canis Minor (the lesser dog). Both
 of these faithful companions sit at the feet of Orion waiting for their
                            next expedition.
 In addition to being one of the companions of Orion, Canis Major is
also the stellar home of Sirius, which is the brightest star in the night
  sky. When Canis Major is visible, the brilliant white light of Sirius
   shines like a searchlight in the sky. Although Sirius is not a very
  large star, being only about one and one-half times as large as our
    own Sun, its young age and relatively close distance combine to
                           make it so bright.
GEMINI: THE TWINS
      INFORMATION ABOUT
            GEMINI
• Gemini is one of the larger constellations in our sky and also has,
      along with most of the other constellations, very interesting
 mythology. Although the Gemini is called "The Twins" and actually
  resembles a set of twins in the sky, these twins actually had different
                                  fathers.
 The twins in this case are Pollux and Castor, which are the stars that
     represent the heads of the twins. The twins' mother was Leda,
     Castor's father was Tyndareus, who was the mortal king of the
 ancient Greek city of Sparta. Pollux's father, on the other hand, was
                           the Greek god Zeus.
  This resulted in the very unusual situation where Castor was mortal
    and Pollux, being the son of a mythological god, was immortal.
LEO: THE LION
           LEO INFORMATION

• Leo is another companion to Orion in our night sky. You can easily
  find Leo any time that Orion is visible by looking East of the Great
  Hunter. Although Leo is not as large as Orion, its distinctive shape
  makes it very easy to pick out. If you click on the link for the map of
   Leo on the right, you will notice that the outline of the lion's head
   and the triangle formed by the stars in the lion's hindquarters are
  two very distinctive shapes that make this constellation very easy to
                                   spot.
 REGULUS: THE HEART OF
       THE LION
• The largest and brightest star in Leo is Regulus.
   This large blue star shines brightly as the heart
  of the lion. Although not a giant star, Regulus is
  still over five times as large as our Sun. A small
   telescope will show you that Regulus is part of
   what is called a "binary system". Binary stars
  are stars that have one or more companions that
  orbit around the largest star in the group, much
         like the planets orbit around our Sun.
DRACO: THE DRAGON
      THE STORY OF DRACO
• The Dragon is usually associated with guardian's of the
  temples and treasures. Draco was important as it was
  the guardian of the star that never moves, the celestial
  pole. The celestial pole in ancient times was the
  doorway between the mortal world and the eternity. In
  Greek mythology the dragon is Ladon, the guardian of
  the 'golden apples' of immortality which grew in the
  garden of Hesperides, beyond the River of Time, in the
  land of death. It is Ladon which Hercules kills in his 11th
  labor to get the golden apples.
URSA MINOR: THE LITTLE
        BEAR
    IMPORTANCE OF URSA
          MINOR
• Ursa Minor is mostly known for Polaris,
  the North Star which may be found at
  the end of the asterism, the Little
  Dipper. Ursa Minor does not have any
  mythology attached to it, it was created
  in the 6th century B.C. as a
  navigational aid for sailors out of a long
  forgotten constellation called the
  Dragon's wing.
CASSIOPEIA: THE QUEEN
CASSIOPEIA INFORMATION
• Cassiopeia is known as the Celestial W
  when below the pole and the Celestia M
  when above it.
• Cassiopeia is bound to her chair and
  forever circles the pole with her head
  downward. A fitting punishment by the
  Nereids (Sea Nymphys) for her boast of
  being more beautiful than all the
  Nereids.
• Cassiopeia was the wife of Cepheus and
  mother of Andromeda
HERCULES: THE SON OF
       ZEUS
HISTORICAL INFORMATION
    ABOUT HERCULES
• Hercules, the Son of Zeus, is best seen in the summer
  in the Northern Hemisphere. You can find him by
  looking between Draco and Ophiuchus. Hercules is
  visible in the Southern Hemisphere from May until
  August. Hercules is another of the oldest constellations,
  but he was not known to the first Greek astronomers by
  that name (early Greeks called him the Kneeling One).
  Hercules is best known for his twelve labors, because he
  killed his children in a fit of anger. The twelve labors are
  thought to represent the Sun's passing through the
  twelve zodiacal constellations.
SCORPIUS: THE DEADLY
       KILLER
                      SCORPIUS
• Scorpius is one of the real highlights of the summer sky. Unfortunately,
     you can only see the entire constellation during the months of July,
     August and September. The head of Scorpio starts to peek above the
  southern horizon in June, and, after September, you will just see its tail
     as it dips below our horizon until the following summer. At the same
  time, the appearance of Scorpio in the southern sky means that summer
                           is in full swing once again.
  The mythology is very interesting because in the legend, Scorpio spent a
   great deal of time trying to kill the great hunter Orion, but they are on
    opposite sides of the sky. According to varying legends, Scorpio either
  was or was not finally successful in killing the mighty hunter. Scorpius
   is the slayer of Orion. Sent by a jealous Artemis, Orion was stung
    by the Scorpion and caused his death. Orion could not be saved
                  even by Asclepius, the god of healing.
• Scorpius was also responsible for the runaway horses of Phoebus
  Apollo when Phaethon tried to drive the Chariot of the Sun, he
  caused great havoc as he careened around the skies, drying up
  rivers and scorching the earth.
PERSEUS
           THE RESCUER OF
            ANDROMEDA
• His quest was to bring back the head of Medusa, not
  knowing her whereabouts he went to the three sisters
  of Polydectes, who were blind and shared a glass eye.
  They refused to help him until he stole the eye and
  would not return it until they told him where to find
  Medusa. Using a shield given to him by Minerva, he
  avoided looking directly at Medusa and beheaded her.
  Pegasus sprang out of the Medusa's blood and he rode
  him back to Artos, where he found Andromeda chained
  to the rocks as a sacrifice to Cetus, using the Gorgons
  head, Cetus turned to stone. Perseus and Andromeda
  fell in love, both were placed among the stars.
ANDROMEDA: THE
   PRINCESS
            THE STORY OF
            ANDROMEDA
• Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus and
  Cassiopeia, the king and queen of Ethiopia.
  She was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to
  Cetus,the sea monster as punishment for her
  mother's boast that she was more beautiful
  than all the Nereids (sea nymphs). Andromeda
  was saved by Perseus when he turned Cetus
  to stone by using the dismembered head of
  Medusa. The constellation's creation is
  credited to the Greeks, but it is likely that they
  borrowed it and the story from the
  Babylonians

				
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