Skywatch for the week of April 4, 2022
Mon Apr 4, 2022 NAME THAT CONSTELLATION: APRIL
Can you identify the seventeenth largest constellation? It is bordered on the north by Auriga and Perseus, on the south by Eridanus, on the west by Aries, and on the east by Orion. The Crab nebula is here, and the Hyades star cluster, and also the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, nearby the crescent moon tonight. The red giant Aldebaran is its brightest star. One of the oldest star patterns, in mythology this animal is often seen as a representation of Zeus, who carried the princess Europa across the sea to Crete; or as the seventh labor of Hercules. Can you name this star figure, the second constellation of the zodiac? The answer is Taurus the Bull, currently visible in the western evening sky.
Tue Apr 5, 2022 SEASONAL CONSTELLATIONS
With the new season, there is also a change in the constellations in our evening sky. Orion the Hunter and his entourage - Taurus the Bull, Canis Major and Canis Minor (that is, the greater and lesser dogs,) Lepus the Hare, Auriga the Charioteer, the Gemini twins and Cancer the Crab – have slipped over into the western sky; while new star groups rise out of the east. The stars of Leo the Lion appear as a backwards question mark above the eastern horizon, while the Big Dipper stands on its handle in the northeast after dusk; and soon bright Arcturus in Boötes the Shepherd and the star Spica in Virgo the Maiden will rise. The sky wheels about us, and the springtime constellations take their places in the heavens above.
Wed Apr 6, 2022 NEW PLANETARIUM SHOW: DAUGHTER OF THE STARS
This weekend, Indian River State College will present, “Daughter of the Stars,” which tells Native American Indian stories about the sky. In the current evening sky, the people of North America had their own names for the constellations: Orion the Hunter was called Long Sash by the Tewa Pueblo Indians of the American southwest. The bright stars of Gemini - Castor and Pollux, were his place of decision, which led to the long journey up into the sky country. The Praesepe star cluster in the constellation Cancer the Crab, was the headdress of Long Sash. And the bright star Arcturus in Boötes was a constellation all by itself, the hero Waupee of the Shawnee tribe. You can get tickets at the IRSC box office - call 772) 462-4750.
Thu Apr 7, 2022 STAR COMPARISONS
The stars we see this evening include the red giant Betelgeuse, in the western sky in the constellation Orion; it’s a billion miles across. Another star in Orion, the blue giant Rigel, is many times hotter and more massive than the sun. There’s a white dwarf, a companion star to brilliant Sirius in the southwest, which is no bigger than the earth. And there’s a tiny neutron star, just a few miles across, within the borders of Taurus, while a black hole, a mere pinpoint of super-dense matter, lies just to the east of Orion. From red and blue giants to yellow suns, white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes, from solitary suns to great star clusters, each star is unique, possessing within it the secret of its own creation and demise.
Fri Apr 8, 2022 PLANETARIUM SHOW: DAUGHTER OF THE STARS
The bright star Arcturus which we see in the eastern evening sky was known to the Shawnee Indians as Waupee, or the White Hawk. One day Waupee saw, much to his surprise, a magical basket descend from the sky. In the basket were 12 sisters. When the basket reached earth, the heavenly sisters leaped out, and linking hands, began to dance in a circle. What happens next? Find out, when you visit Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium to see our new show, “Daughter of the Stars,” which tells this story and many other sky stories as told by Native American Indians. There are shows tonight, Friday, and also tomorrow afternoon. You can get tickets for these shows at the IRSC box office - call 772) 462-4750.