Pavo – the peacock

January 8, 2017

Astronomy

headdressThere is a constellation way down in the southern part of the sky named Pavo which means Peacock, and its brightest star is named Peacock. Coincidence? Are there really any coincidences? Twenty four hours in a day, twenty four beers in a case. Okay that one maybe. Although those pesky Romans and the Egyptians both had a weird fascination with twelves, and twenty fours, and triangles, and toga parties, etc. So who knows? We probably have so many 12’s in our culture because of those guys.

There are nine constellations named after birds, ten if you count Lyra which use to be a vulture. That’s 11%. Is it because they are up there in the ether where wings come in handy? Maybe it’s because it is so easy to connect the dots in an “X” shape and then say “See, wings.” Whatever, I still blame the Romans. Meanwhile there are 32 football teams in the NFL and 5 of them have birds for mascots. That’s 15%. Still… Romans.
seahawkjet

peachix2There is a group of stars in Pavo shaped like a saucepan so folks in Australia call it that, The Saucepan. Don’t confuse it with other saucepan groups like the big dipper or the one people draw in Orion. Insist on the original.

The saucepan asterism in Pavo is a good way to figure out which direction is south. A compass is another way. Just show the compass to an aboriginal native and say “Hey mate, I’ll give you this shiny new compass if you’ll tell me which way is south.”

pavosauce

peafowlThere is a nice globular cluster in Pavo named NGC 6752. It’s pretty awesome. It’s the third brightest globular in the whole sky. If you divide 6752 by 12 you get 562 and 1/3, so nothing shocking there I guess, I can’t blame the Romans for that one. Besides, it’s hard enough doing long division with roman numerals, let alone trying to do it with no zero.

Carpe Noctem

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