Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gazing at the Heavens

Life is Looking Up

Just after sunset, Dec, 1st we will see this in the western sky
I have always been a night owl, so I get to see the stars and planets, a lot. I still don't know most of the names of the things I am looking at. What I do know, started with the moon when I was a child. I had trouble seeing the man in the moon because I was looking for a man, not a face.

I think if someone had said; "Look, there's the face on the moon.", I might have figured it out sooner.

The rabbit, man, and lady in the moon

I guess the next celestial object I learned to identify was the "Big Dipper".

Big Dipper, (below), and, Little Dipper, (above).
Finding the Big Dipper was pretty easy, and locating the North Star from the side of the cup was a snap. I still don't see a bear, (Ursa Major). It's just now, with this graphic, that I realize the tip of the Little Dipper's handle is the North Star, (Polaris).

Orion is the easiest constellation for me to recognize and this picture from Hawaii is one of the best I have seen as an example. The three stars in the middle are called Orions belt. The red "star" in his sword is actually the Orion nebulae, where our Sun was born. You can see Orion all winter long, crossing the night sky.

I first learned about Orion when I was attending Alpine High School in Texas. It was 1960 and I was out one night at the local, "make-out", spot. (The golf course.) The girl I was with, pointed out Orion, and it became a significant stellar object in my life.

Later I found out that it was also significant to the ancient Egyptians. They built the pyramids to correspond with the arrangement of the stars in Orion.

Orions belt and the Pyramids at Giza from satellite photo.

The Egyptians called Orion, Osiris, and 12,000 years ago it was like this...

Osiris, Sirius, Taurus, and the Milky Way 12,500 BC
Back then the River Nile and the Milky Way were mirror images.

Here in Redding

Reflecting by the Sacramento 11/22/08

It must have been a mystical experience to see the Milky Way reflecting on the Nile.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
"See the Pyramids along the Nile..."
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159–167 ...

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