Tag Archives: star party

Tucana – the toucan

August 14, 2016

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The southern constellation of Tucana was named after a colorful South American bird in the late sixteenth century by Petrus Plancius. It is small but important. It contains some of our best examples of cosmic real estate, a dwarf galaxy and a globular cluster, both orbiting the Milky Way. Firstly, there’s the Small Magellanic Cloud. […]

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Volans – the flying fish

July 10, 2016

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There is a tiny constellation near the southern pole of the sky named Volans, the Flying Fish. Unfortunately there is no cute little story here about a fish getting its wish to have wings or such. The only story we have is that this part of the sky was named by some Dutch guy named […]

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Autumn Bliss

June 16, 2013

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Capricornus the Seagoat The name Capricornus has been shortened to Carpricorn by some folks. But that is a very recent thing, like only in the last hundred years maybe. Either way, it means Seagoat. And Seagoat is the oldest known name still in use for anything in the whole sky. People have been calling these […]

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Summer Swelter

June 9, 2013

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Scorpius the Scorpion In the scorpion we find lots of bright stars that make an obvious fish hook shape, especially when you ignore the claws that the Romans surgically shortened in order to make Libra. In fact some natives of the south pacific call this constellation “Maui’s Hook.” You see Maui is one of the […]

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Spring Thaw

June 2, 2013

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Leo the Lion The big kitty is one of the few real connect-the-dots sort of allegories. It makes a reasonable stick figure of an animal at least. The Chinese call it the horse. It takes some imagination. If you try to connect the dots you may get something that looks like a coat hanger after […]

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Winter Beast

May 26, 2013

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Taurus the Bull Taurus is a bull, well half of a bull anyway. The front half. Actually mostly the head, with a shiny red eye. I think he’s been drinking. He’s charging Orion who appears to be perfectly prepared to defend himself from the assault. Orion also appears to have lost his pants but we […]

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Ten Commandments of Star Parties

May 5, 2013

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Shatter not the darkness at the site of observing. Man-made lights thou shalt eschew, save the faint of red. Thou shalt not illuminate thy headlights of thy automobile, nor the car door shalt thy open before the disconnecting of thy dome light. Even a match strucketh in haste is mightily unpleasing in the dark-adapted eyes […]

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