Corona Australis – the southern crown

September 10, 2017

Astronomy

The constellation named Corona Australis, the southern crown, used to be named Corona Austrina. The International Astronomical Union, the same magnificent bastards whose hatred of Pluto led to its utter and complete humiliation, officially recorded the name as “Corona Austrina” in 1922. Back then each constellation was also given a four-letter abbreviation to be used on maps and in articles etc.

But then in 1955 the IAU suddenly shocked the world and switched to three-letter designations instead of four. As part of that change, the IAU recklessly, malevolently, changed the name to “Corona Australis.” This is an outrage! I demand they change it back to Austrina immediately! Making Pluto a dwarf planet was just a distraction to draw attention away from the real travesty of justice. Don’t despair Corona of the south, you’ll always be Austrina to all the right-thinking astronomers.

It’s shaped like a horseshoe in the unlucky way.

There is a meteor shower called the Corona Australids that radiates from a point in this region every year around the Ides of March. From a dark site expect to see a whopping 4 or 5 meteors per hour.

NGC 6541 is a globular cluster here and it’s calculated to be about 14 billion years old. By some estimates that is older than the whole universe. In my humble opinion somewhere around 13 billion you should stop expecting folks to make a big deal about your birthday.

The only star in the whole constellation with a real name is Alfecca Meridiana. It’s a hybrid of Arabic and Latin. Alfecca is Arabic for “Break” or “Broken” and Meridiana is Latin for south.

This is yet more evidence of the constellation’s tortured history. The Arabs called the whole group “Break” because it looks like it was smacked hard with a big hammer. The crown’s shape has a serious dent. The “south” part of the name is in Latin because well, you know, the Romans were magnificent bastards.

Carpe Noctem

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