July 23, 2017

0 Comments

Dorado – the swordfish

The constellation Dorado is one of 12 constellations created by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius, who liked to name stuff after exotic animals. The allegorical figure is usually drawn as a swordfish, even though the name itself is associated with dolphinfish. The name dolphinfish is associated with mahi mahi, and the name mahi mahi is […]

Continue reading...

July 16, 2017

0 Comments

Draco – the dragon

Draco the dragon is a long, thin, dim, winding constellation that separates the two dippers. His neck curls back as though he is glancing behind, and his head is being stepped on by Hercules. According to the Romans, Draco was killed and placed in the sky by their goddess, Minerva. To the Greeks Draco was […]

Continue reading...

July 9, 2017

0 Comments

Equuleus – the little horse

Equuleus is the ancient designation for this small constellation. Even Claudius Ptolemy included it on his maps as the little horse. It’s the second smallest constellation, the record for smallest being held by the southern cross. It’s usually drawn as just a horses head, sometimes peaking out from behind Pegasus. Maybe they’re related, on the […]

Continue reading...

July 2, 2017

0 Comments

Eridanus – the river

Eridanus is a long narrow constellation winding like a river from Orion’s kneecap to points farther south. It is probably named after Eridu, an ancient city in old Babylonia. Over the ages various cultures have given it various names and backstories, almost all of them river-ish. At the southern end of Eridanus the bright blue […]

Continue reading...

June 25, 2017

0 Comments

Fornax – the furnace

The constellation Fornax is one those created by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the mid 1700’s to commemorate the enlightenment’s greatest hits. It represents the little furnaces that chemists use in the laboratory to cook things you shouldn’t eat. I’m sure you can order one on Amazon or maybe talk to your local meth dealer. […]

Continue reading...

June 18, 2017

0 Comments

Gemini – the twins

The constellation of Gemini represents the twin sons of Jupiter, whose names are Castor and Pollux. Those two boys are also represented by the bright stars that are drawn as the heads of the figures when you connect the dots. Ptolemy added Gemini to his maps a couple of thousand years ago when he was […]

Continue reading...

June 11, 2017

0 Comments

Grus – the crane

The constellation Grus represents a crane. Please note that we mean the large gangling-legged fish-eating bird, not the big load-lifting construction machine. We’re basically talking three stars here so you can sketch just about anything with a bit of imagination. The brightest stars are named after parts of a fish because the area was carved […]

Continue reading...

June 4, 2017

0 Comments

Hercules – hercules the hero

Hercules is a major constellation and its story goes all the way back to when the ancient Greeks did a major reboot of Gilgamesh. Ptolemy included Hercules in his collection a couple thousand years ago which is how I heard about it. Hercules was a magnificent bastard. His father was a god which right away […]

Continue reading...

May 28, 2017

0 Comments

Horologium – the clock

The constellation Horologium represents a clock and usually is portrayed as one of the old-timey types. Nicolas Louis de Lacaille created it and drew it as a grandfather hall clock with a pendulum and weights. Lacaille added 14 constellations to the map in an effort to flesh out the southern sky. In general he used […]

Continue reading...

May 21, 2017

0 Comments

Hydra – the water snake

The largest of all 88 constellations is called Hydra, the water snake. It’s huge. It forms a line that wraps around the sky all the way from the stars of Cancer to those of Libra. If you go out and see the toothy business end just starting to rise in the east, you will wait […]

Continue reading...

May 14, 2017

0 Comments

Hydrus – the male water snake

There is a southern constellation called Hydrus which is not to be confused with the constellation Hydra. They are both water snakes but Hydrus it the lesser water snake in both size and mythical importance, and also it is male. Having two slithering sky serpents confirms the old adage that “snakes travel in pairs” which […]

Continue reading...

May 7, 2017

0 Comments

Indus – the indian

The source of the name for the constellation Indus is a bit confusing. Many say it celebrates the indigenous tribes of the Americas. But there is some indication it originally referred to tribes in Madagascar. There are also indications it’s about the tribes of the East Indies, or maybe Africa. Petrus Plancius added it to […]

Continue reading...