Can you name all 88 constellations? If you had that t-shirt you could!! :))))))))
By-the-way, there are also 88 counties in Ohio. Coincidence? I think not. :)))
Not sure if you were outside late the other night, but here in Cleveburg we had the most perfect, clear night. It seems no matter how many times I’m outside late, I love to look up at the sky and search for planets, constellations and stars. And not just the common ones – Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, Orion, but some of the more discrete constellations. I’m lucky where I live – we have a Nature Center, with a spectacular planetarium inside – fun to catch a show or speaker and learn more. I especially like to hear about the children with their oohs and aahhs! I did some digging to see if I could find out more about the more popular constellations and get the stories and myths behind the designs. Seduction, goddesses, queens, romance, serpents and more – Enjoy, and thanks to interestingfacts.com for the details and YouTube for a couple fun tunes to enjoy while you read.
Each constellation of stars in the night sky has a fascinating origin story. From the 48 constellations named by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in his 2nd-century book The Almagest to the dozens established by astronomers in the 16th and 17th centuries, their names reflect heroic tales from Greek myths, gods and goddesses, and various animals. Today, the International Astronomical Union recognizes 88 principal constellations in the northern and southern skies. Here’s how a few of them got their names.
Here’s a guide to help you track the constellations below: CLICK HERE
Seven stars make up the hindquarters and tail of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, but you may know them better as the Big Dipper, named for their resemblance to a ladle or drinking gourd. In his book Metamorphosis, Ovid tells of how the huntress Callisto took a vow of chastity to the goddess Artemis, but Zeus, turning himself into Artemis’ likeness, tricked and seduced Callisto. She gave birth to their son, Arcas. When Zeus’ jealous wife Hera got wind of the affair, she turned Callisto into a bear. Years later, Arcas hunted the bear, not knowing it was his mother. To avoid further tragedy, Zeus turned Callisto into Ursa Major and Arcas into the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman.
Listed by Ptolemy in the Almagest, Cassiopeia is a constellation named for the infamously vain queen of Greek myth. Cassiopeia claimed that she was more beautiful than the sea nymphs known as Nereids, a bit of hubris that angered the sea god Poseidon. He sent a monster (recorded in the sky as the constellation Cetus) to punish Cassiopeia and her husband, King Cepheus. They tried to appease the monster by offering him their daughter Andromeda (a legend with its own constellation). Cassiopeia is one of the most recognizable and visible constellations in the northern sky: Its five bright stars form a W shape, representing the queen seated on her throne.
Poor, virginal Andromeda had the misfortune of being the daughter of Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus. They chained her to a rock in the sea as a sacrifice to the monster Cetus. Things looked bleak for the beautiful Andromeda until Perseus, a demigod hero who had just slain the gorgon Medusa, swooped down from the heavens and rescued her in one of the most romantic scenes in Greek mythology.
Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek legend, has quite the origin story. After Perseus slayed Medusa by cutting off her head, Pegasus sprang from her bloody neck and flew off. Some say Perseus was actually riding Pegasus when he rescued Andromeda, but in myth the horse is more closely associated with the hero Bellerophon. Zeus also employed Pegasus in carrying his thunderbolts. Though the constellation usually depicts only the front half of the horse, Pegasus is the seventh-largest group of stars in the northern sky.
The famous celestial Hunter is easy to spot in the night sky thanks to the three closely spaced stars of his belt, as well as the bright stars Betelgeuse and Rigel at his right shoulder and left foot. The constellation Orion faces Taurus, the Bull — suggesting that Orion may be based on the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh or the Greek hero Heracles, both of whom fight bulls. Orion boasted that he could kill any beast on Earth, which offended the Earth. The Earth opened to send forth a scorpion, which fatally stung Orion. As a result, the constellations Orion and Scorpio are at opposite ends of the sky so it appears that Orion is fleeing the sky as the scorpion rises in the east.
Ptolemy identified Hydra, the Water Snake, as one of the longest constellations in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as the largest. In Greek myth, Hydra is a fearsome water serpent with multiple heads, one of which is immortal. (Five stars at one end of the linear constellation represent the heads of the snake.) The hero Heracles was tasked with killing Hydra as the second of his 12 labors, but every time Heracles cut off one of the monster’s heads, two more grew in its place. Heracles’ nephew Iolaus suggested they burn the necks after cutting them off to prevent them from regenerating. They eventually slayed the beast by burying its remaining immortal noggin under a rock. Heracles then dipped the points of his arrows in Hydra’s blood to render them lethal.
According to Greek mythology, centaurs were half-horse, half-human creatures with a bad reputation as rowdy drunkards, but the centaur Chiron was an exception. The wise Chiron taught medicine and music, and his pupils included Greek heroes like Achilles and Jason. Chiron was mortally wounded when Heracles accidentally shot him with an arrow — one that he had dipped in Hydra’s blood to make its strike fatal. But because Chiron was immortal, he couldn’t die from his injury. Zeus took pity on Chiron and released him to the sky, where he became the constellation Centaurus.
Navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman accompanied the first Dutch voyage to what is now Indonesia in 1595. Petrus Plancius had trained and instructed Keyser to chart stars in the Southern Hemisphere, and de Houtman served as Keyser’s assistant. They eventually identified 12 new southern constellations and named some after the natural history of the region. The Phoenix, located near the constellation Eridanus, refers to the mythical, multicolored bird that is able to rise from the ashes of its predecessor. The Dutch duo may have been inspired to record the Phoenix after seeing birds of paradise, a group of spectacularly plumed birds native to Indonesia and first described by Europeans in the 16th century.
When Heracles was made temporarily insane by the goddess Hera, he killed his wife and children. To atone for the murders, he was assigned 12 seemingly impossible labors. The first: to kill the Nemean lion, a fearsome beast with an impervious hide that relished attacking the local villagers. Heracles succeeded in overcoming the lion by gripping him in a bear hug and squeezing him to death. The constellation Leo echoes the lion’s ferocious attitude: A group of six stars are arranged in an arc representing the animal’s front torso and head, preparing to pounce. The brightest star in the arc is named Regulus, meaning “little king.”
DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I. Love. My. Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good. :-))))