puppyvangoghPictor is part of the Lacaille Group, the handful of constellations named after a bunch of 18th century stuff by a 18th century French guy. In this case it is the easel which held the artist's canvas in the days before Photoshop. Fun fact, the word "easel" is the old german word for "donkey" and can be traced back to the latin word for "ass."

The brightest star in Pictor (Alpha Pictoris) is young and a hottie. Other than that there is not a lot to say about it. If you dig deep you'll find out it's the South Pole Star on the planet Mercury. If you are ever lost while navigating the southern regions of Mercury that bit might come in handy. But if that's the case I think you have worse problems to consider.
pic_kapteynPerhaps the most interesting star here is one named Kapteyn’s Star. It moves relative to other stars on our maps rather quickly, forcing us to update them on a regular basis. It held the distinction of the fastest changing part of our maps for only 18 years though. Barnard’s Star was discovered in 1916 and took first place.

One reason Kapteyn's Star is moving so fast compared to us is that it is going the wrong way. It's retrograding the galaxy. That's understandable because it's actually not one of the stars of the galactic disk at all, it's a halo star just passing through on its way to the other side. Those halo stars don't get to town very often and they tend to ignore local traffic laws.

There are other trivial facts you should memorize to qualify for Kapteyn Fan Club membership. The star came within 7 light years of our solar system only a little over 10,000 years ago. We've updated our maps several times since then.
Carpe Noctem
Skywise Unlimited

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Comment by Strega on December 11, 2016 at 10:57am
Thanks for this, Brad ;)
Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on December 11, 2016 at 3:25pm

Love the artwork! fyi - the Gaelic work for "donkey" is "asal", which may share a common derivation with "easel".

Comment by Daniel W. on December 14, 2016 at 9:53pm

Very interesting and a refreshing read.  Also Reg's comment about etymology via Gaelic. '

According to my DNA test result, I'm 11% Irish, so I suppose I should learn 11% Gaelic as well.  The recorded lineage confirms that connection.  I think president O'bama might be more Irish than I am, however.

Anyway, they were all farmers, and while they may have had donkeys, I don't think they had easels.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on December 14, 2016 at 11:31pm

...and now one Irish farmer has fronkeys!!

Comment by Daniel W. on December 15, 2016 at 4:47pm

Some day I will learn what is a fronkey.  Frog-donkey hybrid?  Frog-monkey?  The mystery continues.  :-)

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on December 15, 2016 at 6:16pm

I enjoy my days off from farming by travelling around in my psychedelic van with my friends and that goofy dog looking for mysteries to solve :-)


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