Brad Snowder's Blog (166)

Equuleus - the little horse

Equuleus is the ancient designation for this small constellation. Even Claudius Ptolemy included it on his maps as the little horse. It's the second smallest constellation, the record for smallest being held by the southern cross. It's usually drawn as just a horses head,…
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Added by Brad Snowder on July 9, 2017 at 1:08am — No Comments

Eridanus - the river

Eridanus is a long narrow constellation winding like a river from Orion's kneecap to points farther south. It is probably named after Eridu, an ancient city in in old Babylonia. Over the ages various cultures have given it various names and backstories, almost all of them…
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Added by Brad Snowder on July 1, 2017 at 5:48pm — No Comments

Fornax - the furnace

The constellation Fornax is one those created by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the mid 1700's to commemorate the enlightenment's greatest hits. It represents the little furnaces that chemists use in the laboratory to cook things you shouldn't eat. I'm sure you can order one on…
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Added by Brad Snowder on June 25, 2017 at 5:14pm — No Comments

Gemini - the twins

The constellation of Gemini represents the twin sons of Jupiter, whose names are Castor and Pollux. Those two boys are also represented by the bright stars that are drawn as the heads of the figures when you connect the dots. Ptolemy added Gemini to his maps a couple of…
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Added by Brad Snowder on June 18, 2017 at 1:58am — No Comments

Grus - the crane

The constellation Grus represents a crane. Please note that we mean the large gangling-legged fish-eating bird, not the big load-lifting construction machine. We're basically talking three stars here so you can sketch just about anything with a…
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Added by Brad Snowder on June 11, 2017 at 12:39am — No Comments

Hercules - hercules the hero

Hercules is a major constellation and its story goes all the way back to when the ancient Greeks did a major reboot of Gilgamesh. Ptolemy included Hercules in his collection a couple thousand years ago which is how I heard about it. …



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Added by Brad Snowder on June 4, 2017 at 9:44am — No Comments

Horologium - the clock

The constellation Horologium represents a clock and usually is portrayed as one of the old-timey types. Nicolas Louis de Lacaille created it and drew it as a grandfather hall clock with a pendulum and weights. Lacaille added 14…
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Added by Brad Snowder on May 28, 2017 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Hydra - the water snake

The largest of all 88 constellations is called Hydra, the water snake. It's huge. It forms a line that wraps around the sky all the way from the stars of Cancer to those of Libra. If you go out and see the toothy business end just starting to rise in the east, you will wait…
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Added by Brad Snowder on May 21, 2017 at 11:22am — 2 Comments

Hydrus - the male water snake

watersnake There is a southern constellation called Hydrus which is not to be confused with the constellation Hydra. They are both water snakes but Hydrus it the lesser water snake in both size and mythical importance, and also it is male. Having two slithering sky serpents confirms…
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Added by Brad Snowder on May 13, 2017 at 6:52pm — No Comments

Indus - the indian

The source of the name for the constellation Indus is a bit confusing. Many say it celebrates the indigenous tribes of the Americas. But there is some indication it originally referred to tribes in Madagascar. There are also indications it's about the tribes of the East Indies, or…
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Added by Brad Snowder on May 7, 2017 at 1:52am — 1 Comment

Lacerta - the lizard

lizard There is a small constellation near Cassiopeia which looks like her but is a smaller "W" shape. It is Lacerta, which means lizard. It is considered part of the Perseus Group even although there is no lizard in that story. Johannes Hevelius named it in the late 1600's, I guess…
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Added by Brad Snowder on April 30, 2017 at 1:52am — 1 Comment

Leo - the lion

lioncut The constellation Leo shows up in the early spring, when frogs wake up, the crocuses start blooming, and pudgy old guys begin meandering around Lowes in cargo shorts and birkenstocks. These stars dominate the spring sky the way Orion dominates the winter. In the weeks before the…
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Added by Brad Snowder on April 23, 2017 at 1:25am — 2 Comments

Leo Minor - the smaller lion

leominor_01 There is a constellation called Leo Minor that represents a lesser lion, just north of regular Leo. Johannes Hevelius added it in 1687. He sort of squeezed it in between Leo and the Big Dipper where there was a bit of unoccupied interstitial space. It's like how Idaho was…
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Added by Brad Snowder on April 16, 2017 at 12:33am — No Comments

Lepus - the hare

hare_01 Lepus is a constellation that represents a hare, which is basically a rabbit with longer legs and ears. It's located right beneath Orion, dangerously close to being stepped on, and dangerously close to his two dogs. The brightest star in Lepus…
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Added by Brad Snowder on April 8, 2017 at 1:09pm — No Comments

Libra – the scales

lib The constellation of Libra represents a set of scales and it is by far the newest of the zodiacal membership. It may seem odd that there is a machine for weighing stuff in the weird line-up of monsters and zoo critters. On the other hand its two brightest stars have my most favorite…
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Added by Brad Snowder on April 1, 2017 at 1:08pm — 1 Comment

Lupus - the wolf

bigbadwolf The constellation Lupus is way down south. It was even recognized as the wolf by Claudius Ptolemy a couple of thousand years ago, which is notable because Ptolemy was mostly concerned with the stuff more to the north. On the other hand the stars in this area are near Centaurus…
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Added by Brad Snowder on March 25, 2017 at 2:34pm — 3 Comments

Lynx - the lynx

lynx The constellation Lynx is one of a few that is its own translation. It means "lynx" so no fancy steps are required to explain it. In the late 1600's Johannes Hevelius named it after the wild cat because those animals have eyesight good enough to see the stars here and humans don't…
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Added by Brad Snowder on March 18, 2017 at 11:17pm — 1 Comment

Lyra - the lyre

orph_02 High in the summer sky you'll find Lyra, the lyre, which is a small harp-like musical instrument. On some old-timey maps it is depicted as a eagle, or sometimes a vulture, with a small lyre in its mouth. Clearly this one was designed by an astronomy club committee. …

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Added by Brad Snowder on March 11, 2017 at 9:19am — 3 Comments

Mensa - the table

tableboat Mensa means "table." It is also the name of a southern constellation mapped out by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille.



Originally Lacaille meant for this area of the sky to be named "Table Mountain" after a place in Africa near Cape Town. People casually shortened the name…
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Added by Brad Snowder on March 10, 2017 at 8:41am — 1 Comment

Microscopium - the microscope

microscope Having named one southern constellation after a telescope, Lacaille named another after the microscope. The two star groups are beside each other. It seemed only right since each of these inventions expanded our level of consciousness by orders of magnitude, albeit in opposite…
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Added by Brad Snowder on February 25, 2017 at 2:33pm — 1 Comment

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Blog Posts

Equuleus - the little horse

Posted by Brad Snowder on July 9, 2017 at 1:08am 0 Comments

Horrified

Posted by Mary smith on July 2, 2017 at 12:35pm 0 Comments

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