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Cepheus: King of Ethiopia/Andromeda’s Father April 27, 2010

Posted by agdreams in Astronomy.
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Cepheus is the name of two mythological kings.

One was the son of Aleus, from Arcadia. He would become the king of Tegea (a community on the Peloponesian peninsula), would father twenty children, and would sail with Jason as an Argonaut.

The other Cepheus was the son of Belus, king of Egypt. This Cepheus grew to become the King of Ethiopia. He married Cassiopeia and they had a daughter Andromeda.

In order to save his kingdom Cepheus had to sacrifice his daughter.

Cepheus is later turned to stone at his daughters wedding.

Position in the Sky: RA 22h, DEC +70°

Visible Between Latitudes: 90 and -10°

Best Seen in: October at 9pm

Stars with Planets: 1

Northern Hemisphere Circumpolar Constellations April 27, 2010

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Along with the different constellations rising throughout the different months and seasons. There are those that can be seen all year round, no matter the day, season, or month. In the northern hemisphere, these constellations are Draco, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cepheus, and Cassiopeia.

Virgo April 24, 2010

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Virgo is identified with several people from mythology. Most often she is identified as the Goddess of Justice, Dike, daughter of Zeus and Themis. She is also though to be Astraea, daughter of Astraeus and Aurora. During the period of the Golden Age, she lived on Earth, in a time where men did not have to work, and there was no sorrow, crime or war.But after Zeus overtook Cronus, the Silver Age began, during this time, she became offended at the manner in which mankind behaved, resorting to violence, theft and war. After no longer being able to tolerate the manner of humanity she left Earth and returned to heaven, where she still sits next to the constellation Libra.

Another association of Virgo is that she is Demeter, the corn goddess, whose daughter, Persephone, was taken by Hades.  Demeter, after being told by the sun what had happened, demanded that Zeus make his brother give her daughter back, but since Persephone had eaten pomegranate seeds, she could never permanently return to land. As a compromise, she would spend one third of her life in the Underworld with Hades, and the other time above with Demeter.

In Egypt Virgo is Isis, who formed the Milky Way by dropping wheat heads in the sky;

in China she is “the Frigid Maiden; in India she is “the Maiden; the Arabs called Virgo “the Ears” since they strongly objected to drawings of the human figure.

Position in the Sky: RA 13 h, DEC 0°

Visible Between Latitudes: 80 and -80°

Best Seen in: May at 9pm

Stars with Planets: 14

Meteor Showers: Virginids and Mu Virginids

 

Sextans April 24, 2010

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Sextans was introduced by Johannes Hevelius in 1687 as “Sextans Uraniae” as a way to commemorate the instrument he used to measure star positions.

Position in the Sky: RA 10 h, DEC 0°

Visible Between Latitudes: 80 and -80°

Best Seen in: April 9pm

Stars with Planets: 3

Meteor Shower: Sextantids

 

Pyxis: The Compass April 24, 2010

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Nicolas Louis de Lacaille named Pyxis.

Pyxis was originally part of the large constellation Argo Navis. When the International Astronomical Union officially defined the 88 constellations and their boundaries, they split Argo Navis into 4 parts: Carina (the keel), Vela (the sail),Puppis (the poop deck), and Pyxis (the compass).

Position in the Sky:RA 9 h, DEC -30°

Visible Between Latitudes: 50 and -90°

Best Seen in: March at 9pm

Stars with Planets: 3

  

Lynx April 24, 2010

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Johannes Hevelius, introduced this constellation in 1687. After other astronomers began adopting telescopic sights, he continued to measure star positions with the naked eye. The French astronomer Pierre Gassendi wrote that Hevelius had the ‘eyes of a lynx’ and this constellation can be seen as an attempt to demonstrate that. Hevelius wrote in his Prodromus Astronomiae that anyone who wanted to observe it would need the eyesight of a lynx.

It is not known whether Hevelius had in mind the mythological character Lynceus who enjoyed the keenest eyesight in the world – he was even credited with the ability to see things underground. Lynceus and his twin brother Idas sailed with the Argonauts. The pair met with disaster when they fell out with Castor and Polydeuces.

 Position in the Sky: RA 8h, DEC 45°

Visible Between Latitudes: 90 and -35°

Best Seen in: March 9pm

Stars with Planets: 1

   

Lupus: The Wolf April 23, 2010

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To the Greeks this constellation was referred to as Therium, representing an unspecified wild animal, while to the Romans it was called Bestia, the Beast.

Position in the Sky:RA 15h, DEC -45°

Visible Between Latitudes: 35 and -90°

Best Seen in: June 9pm

Stars with Planets: 2

    

Leo Minor April 23, 2010

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Leo Minor was introduced by Johannes Hevelius in 1687.

 Position in the Sky: RA 10h,DEC +35°

Visible Between Latitudes: 90 and -45°

Best Seen in: April 9pm

Stars with Planets: 1

Meteor Showers: Leo Minorids

 

Leo April 22, 2010

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Leo is the Nemean Lion which was killed by Hercules on his first quest. The lion had a hide that could not be punctured by iron, bronze or stone. Since he couldn’t reason with the ferocious beast, Hercules strangled it to death and used the lion’s own claws to cut of its pelt and so he could use it was a cloak.  

Position in the Sky: RA 11h, DEC +15°

Visible Between Latitudes: 90 and -65°

Best Seen in: April 9pm

Stars with Planets: 10

Meteor Showers: Leonids

  

Hydra: The Female Water Serpent/Snake April 22, 2010

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Hydra, also called the serpent of Lerna, was a beast with the body of a hound and 100 serpentine heads. It had poisonous breath and it was caused most people to die of fear from simply seeing it. One of Hercules’ great tasks was to kill this monster. When he started to fight it, he discovered that every time he cut off one of the heads, three grew back in place of it. Seeing this was getting him nowhere, he had his charioteer, Iolus, burn the stump after each time he cut off a head, which prevented the heads from groing back. The last head was immortal, however, so after cutting it off, they trapped it under a rock.

A second legend associates the water-snake with the constellations of the Corvus and Crater. Hydra is the largest of the 88 constellations.

 Position in the Sky: RA 10h, DEC -20°

Visible Between Latitudes: 60 and -90°

Best Seen in: April 9pm

Stars with Planets: 10

Meteor Showers: Alpha and Sigma Hydrids