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Skywatch for the week of June 10, 2019


Wed Jun 12, 2019 IROQUOIS CREATION MYTH In an old Iroquois story, the world began long ago when the great tree of light was plucked out of the ground of heaven, and the sky woman Ataensic, who was wife to earth-holder, came down to the world below. Now at that time there was no land, only water as far as the eye could see. The birds of the air and the creatures of the water came together in council to decide where Ataensic would live. The mud turtle was the best of all the animals for supporting the woman above the water, as he could swim without tiring, and sky woman was set down on his shell. The others brought gravel and mud up from the bottom to place upon the turtle's back; and the land grew. Ataensic planted seeds from the great tree of light, so that the earth became a green place too. Now sky woman’s daughter had two sons: the Great Spirit, Mannitto, and the Evil Spirit. From his mother’s face the Great Spirit made the sun; and from her body he made the moon and stars in the sky. And so it has been to this day.


Tue Jun 11, 2019 BEAR TALES This weekend, Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium will present its final performances of “Bear Tales and Other Grizzly Stories”. It's kind of like a camping trip under the stars, in which we find out how Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the Big and Little Bears, got up into the sky and how they got such long tails. “Bear Tales” will tell you some pretty interesting things about the spring sky and its constellations – there’s even a star pattern that depicts a head of hair that was said to belong to one of Cleopatra’s ancestors! We’ll talk about telescopes too, and how to look for distant galaxies out there in the Universe. There’s also campfire singing, and even a ghost story about how Blackbeard the Pirate fought his last battle! This is a great show for the whole family. Join us at the Planetarium starting Friday night. Call the IRSC Box office at 462-4750 to get tickets and more show information.
Thu Jun 13, 2019 FLAG DAY Tomorrow is Flag Day. On this day in 1777, our national flag was adopted by the Continental Congress, which also on this day established the U.S. Army. The flag held thirteen stars, one for each of the original colonies; and of course, the current U.S. flag has 50 stars, one for each state in the Union. The arrangement of stars on flags does not as a rule correspond to any actual constellation in the sky, and the U.S. flag has gone from a circle pattern to a series of rows and columns, and of course there was even an arrangement where the stars were made into a great star image, such as the one that flew over the fort in Fort Pierce when it was built back in 1838. Sometimes the stars on flags do reflect actual star patterns, such as the use of the Big Dipper and the North Star in the state flag of Alaska, or the use of the Southern Cross in the flags of Australia and New Zealand; and Brazil’s flag features the Southern Cross, Canis Major and Scorpius.
Fri Jun 14, 2019 FULL MOON AND JUPITER The moon will be full this weekend. According to the Ponca Indians, June’s full moon is the Hot Weather begins Moon – no argument there. The Omaha Indians call this the Moon When Buffalo Bulls Hunt the Cows; to the Tewa Pueblo it’s the Moon When the Leaves are Dark Green. The Winnebago call this the Corn Tasseling Moon, while the Sioux regard it as the Moon of Making Fat. But to the Objiwa Indians, this is the Lovers' Moon, named for En-a-ban'dang the dreamer and A-nou-gons', or Little Star, who first met when the full moon rose. On Sunday night at moonrise, the planet Jupiter will appear alongside it. When two celestial objects like the moon and Jupiter are near each other in the sky, it’s called a conjunction. And on this night they’re also near opposition, because they can be found on the opposite side of the sky from where the sun is. At midnight the two will be well up in the south, and they won’t set until dawn.