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Auriga – the charioteer

January 14, 2018

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Auriga is a constellation with a multi-colored past. There are many stories and references here that have braided together over time. One thread is that the star pattern represents a brave charioteer, although precisely which charioteer is in question. If you connect the dots you get a pointy helmet like charioteers use to wear. One […]

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Boötes – the herdsman

January 7, 2018

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The constellation Boötes is usually called the herdsman but sometimes he is the plowman. Herding or plowing, free range cowboy or dirt farmer. It reminds me of the old Cain and Able conflict that depicts the rise of agriculture and the resulting social alternatives that civilization presented to the rural traditions. It’s not entirely different […]

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Caelum – the chisel

December 31, 2017

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Caelum is a constellation that was named in honor of the chisel one uses to chip away all of the stone which is hiding the artsy stuff one wants to reveal. It was introduced in the 1750’s by a guy named Nicolas Louis de Lacaille who was filling in blank spots on his sky maps […]

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Camelopardalis – the giraffe

December 24, 2017

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Camelopardalis is a very northerly constellation which represents a giraffe. I know it sounds like it should be a camel. If it helps, just imagine a camel where you pushed down on the hump and it made the neck stretch. Meanwhile try saying Camelopardalis over and over quickly. Wasn’t that fun? To the ancient Greeks […]

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Cancer – the crab

December 17, 2017

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Cancer is a constellation of the zodiac, which is the circle of animals defined by the yearly path of the sun. The zodiac is the oldest known method of finding ones way across the sky. Folks figured out a long time ago that the sun travels around a seemingly changeless, be-speckled sphere. There are thirteen […]

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Canes Venatici – the hunting dogs

December 10, 2017

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There are a couple of hunting dogs which together form the constellation Canes Venatici. The north dog is named Asterion (little star) and the south dog is named Chara (joy). If you are looking for weird dog names for your new puppy, there you go. The allegory caught on back in 1687 when a Polish […]

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Canis Major – the greater dog

December 3, 2017

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Canis Major is one of the several constellations in the sky that represent dogs. It’s the greater dog of the two near Orion. This constellation was handed down to us from Ptolemy a couple thousand years ago. Most of the time Canis Major is merely introduced as one of Orion’s two rabbit chasers. But there […]

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Canis Minor – the lesser dog

November 26, 2017

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The constellation Canis Minor is the lesser dog and it is essentially just two stars, Procyon and Gomeisa. So it’s like one of those wiener dogs I guess. Orion has a couple of dogs following him around the sky, one of your larger breeds, and the wiener. A lot of people do that. I’m not […]

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Capricornus – the sea goat

November 19, 2017

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The name of the constellation “Capricornus” has been shortened to Carpricorn by some folks. But that is a very recent thing, perhaps only in the last hundred years or so. Long or short, either way, it means Seagoat. And Seagoat is the oldest known name still in use for anything in the whole sky. People […]

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Carina – the keel

November 12, 2017

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Carina is one of three constellations that make up the Argo. That’s the ship that Jason and the Argonauts used to go fetch the golden fleece. Carina is a word that means “keel” but the constellation is more than that. It’s the main body of the ship. The three parts were one constellation until 1756 […]

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Cassiopeia – the queen

November 5, 2017

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The constellation Cassiopeia rises high in the autumn sky and represents the very beautiful queen of ancient Ethiopia. By all accounts men were mesmerized by her perfectly chiseled features, like she had really nice thighs and stuff. But this was before selfies so she spent most of her time sitting in a “W” shaped chair […]

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Centaurus – the centaur

October 29, 2017

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The constellation Centaurus is usually said to represent a particular man-horse dude named Chiron. He was a wise and helpful centaur, compared to most. He gave fatherly advice to Hercules, for example. But then with typically tragic fashion for Greek mythology, Hercules accidentally shot Chiron with a poisoned arrow. The poor guy was in a […]

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