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months of the year, commencing at the vernal equinox. Each of these portions served as the visible representative or sign of the month it appeared in.) (All those stars in the Zodiac which were observed to rise while the first vessel was filling, were constellated and included in the first sign, and called Aries, an animal held in great esteem by the shepherds of Chaldea. All those stars in the Zodiac which rose while the second vessel was filling, were constellated and included in the second sign, which for a similar reason, was denominated Taurus; and all those stars which were observed to rise while the third vessel was filling, were constellated in the third sign, and called Gemini, in allusion to the twin season of the flocks.)
Thus each sign of 30° in the Zodiac, received a distinctive appellation, according to the fancy or superstition of the inventors; which names have ever since been retained, although the constellations themselves have since left their nominal signs inore than 30° behind. The sign Aries, therefore, included all the stars embraced in the first 30° of the Zodiac, and no more. The sign Taurus, in like manner, included all those stars embraced in the next 30° of the Zodiac, or these between 300 and 60°, and so of the rest. Of those who imagine that the twelve constellations of the Zodiac refer to the twelve tribes of Israel, some ascribe Aries to the tribe of Simeon, and others, to Gad.
HISTORY.-According to fable, this is the ram which bore the golden flecce, and carried Phryxus and his sister Helle through the air, when they fled to Col chis from the persecution of their stepmother Ino. The rapid motion of the ram in his aerial flight high above the earth, caused the head of Helle to turn with giddiness, and she fell from his back into that part of the sea which was afterwards called Hellespont, in commemoration of the dreadful event. Phryxus arrived safe at Colchis, but was soon murdered by his own father-in-law, Ates, who envied him his golden treasure. This gave rise to the celebrated Argonautic expedition under the command of Jason, for the recovery of the golden fleece.
Nephele, queen of Thebes, having provided her children, Phryxus and Helle, with this noble animal, upon which they might elude the wicked designs of those who sought their life, was afterwards changed into a cloud, as a reward for her parental solicitude; and the Greeks ever after called the clouds by her name. But the most probable account of the origin of this constellation is given in a preceding paragraph, where it is referred to the flocks of the Chaldean shepherds.
During the campaigns of the French army in Egypt, General Dessaix discovered among the ruins at Dendera, near the banks of the Nile, the great temple, supposed by some to have been dedicated to Isis, the female deity of the Egyp tians, who believed that the rising of the Nile was occasioned by the tears which she continually shed for the loss of her brother Osiris, who was murdered by Typhon.
Others suppose this edifice was erected for astronomical purposes, from the circumstance that two Zodiacs were discovered, drawn upon the ceiling, on opposite sides. On both these Zodiacs the equinoctial points are in Leo, and not in Aries; from which it has been concluded, by those who pertinaciously endeavour to array the arguments of science against the chronology of the Bible and the validity of the Mosaic account, that these Zodiacs were constructed when the sun entered the sign Leo, which must have been 9720 years ago, or 4000 years before the inspired account of the creation. The infidel writers in France and Germany, make it 10,000 years before. But we may "set to our seal," that whatever is true in fact and correct in inference on this subject will be found, in the end, not only consistent with the Mosaic record, but with the common meaning of the expressions it uses.
The discovery of Champollion has put this question for ever at rest; and M. Latronne, a most learned antiquary, has very satisfactorily demonstrated that these Egyptian Zodiacs are merely the horoscopes of distinguished personages, or the precise situation of the heavenly bodies in the Zodiac at their nativity. The idea that such was their purpose and origin, first suggested itself to this gentleman on finding, in the box of a mummy, a similar Zodiac, with such
What did each of these portions of the Zodiac serve? What stars were placed in the first sign? What name was given to the constellation thus formed? What stars were placed in the second sign? What was the second constellation called? What stars were placed in the third sign, and what was it called? Are the same names still retained? What does this precession, or going forward of the stars amount to in a year?
inscriptions and characters as determined it to be the horoscope of the deceased person.
Of all the discoveries of the antiquary among the relics of ancient Greece, the ruins of Palmyra, the gigantic pyramids of Egypt, the temples of their gods, or the sepulchres of their kings, scarcely one so aroused and riveted the curiosity of the learned, as did the discovery of Champollion the younger, which deciphers the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt.
The potency of this invaluable discovery has already been signally manifested in settling a formidable controversy between the champions of infidelity and those who maintain the Bible account of the creation. It has been shown that the constellation Pisces, since the days of Hipparchus, has come, by reason of the annual precession, to occupy the same apparent place in the heavens that Aries did two thousand years ago. The Christian astronomer and the infidel are perfectly agreed as to the fact, and the amount of this yearly gain in the apparent motion of the stars. They both believe, and both can demonstrate, that the fixed stars have gone forward in the Zodiac, about 50" of a degree in every revolution of the heavens since the creation; so that were the world to light upon any authentic inscription or record of past ages, which should give the true position or longitude of any particular star at that time, it would be easy to fix an unquestionable date to such a record. Accordingly, when the famous "Egyptian Zodiacs," which were sculptured on the walls of the temple at Dendera, were brought away en masse, and exhibited in the Louvre at Paris, they enkindled a more exciting interest in the thousands who saw them, than ever did the entrance of Napoleon. "Educated men of every order, and those who had the vanity to think themselves such," says the commentator of Champollion, "rushed to behold the Zodiacs. These Zodiacs were immediately published and commented upon, with more or less good faith and decorum. Science struck out into systeins very bold; and the spirit of infidelity, seizing upon the discovery, flattered itself with the hope of drawing from thence new support. It was unjus tifiably taken for granted, that the ruins of Egypt furnished astronomy with monuinents, containing observations that exhibited the state of the heavens in the most remote periods. Starting with this assumption, a pretence was made of demonstrating, by means of calculations received as infallible, that the celestial appearances assigned to these monuments extended back from forty-five to sixty-five centuries; that the Zodiacal system to which they must belong, dated back fifteen thousand years, and must reach far beyond the limits assigned by Moses to the existence of the world." Among those who stood forth more or less bold as the adversaries of revelation, the most prominent was M. Dupuis, the famous author of L'origine de tous les Cultes.
The infidelity of Dupuis was spread about by means of pamphlets, and the advocates of the Mosaic account were scandalized "until a new Alexander arose to cut the Gordian knot, which men had vainly sought to untie. This was Champollion the younger, armed with his discovery," The hieroglyphics now speak a language that all can understand, and no one gainsay. "The Egyptian Zodiacs, then," says Latronne, "relate in no respect to astronomy, but to the idle phantasies of judicial astrology, as connected with the destinies of the emperors who made or completed them."
THE WHALE. As the whale is the chief monster of the deep, and the largest of the aquatic race, so is it the largest constellation in the heavens.) It occupies a space of 500 in length, E. and W., with a mean breadth of 200 from N. to S It is situated below Aries and the Triangles, with a mean declination of 12° S. It is represented as making its way to the E., with its body below, and its head elevated above the equinoctial: (and is six weeks in passing the meridian. Its
What is the comparative size of the Whale? What is its extent? Where ated? How long is the Whale in passing the meridian?
tail comes to the meridian on the 10th of November, and its head leaves it on the 22d of December.)
This constellation contains(97 stars two of the 2d magnitude, seven of the 3d, and thirteen of the 4th The head of Cetus may be readily distinguished, about 20° S. E. of Aries, by means of five remarkable stars, 40 and 5° apart, and so situated as to form a regular pentagon. The brightest of these is Menkar, of the 2d magnitude, in the nose of the Whale. It occupies the S. E. angle of the figure. It is 340 'N. of the equinoctial, and 150 E. of El Rischa in the bight of the cord between the Two Fishes. It is directly 37° S. of Algol, and nearly in the same direction from the Fly. It makes an equilateral triangle with Arietis and the Pleiades, being distant from each about 23° S.; and may otherwise be known by a star of the 3d magnitude in the mouth, 3° W. of it, called Gamma, placed in the south middle angle of the
Nu is a star of the 4th magnitude, 4° N. W. of Gamma, and these two constitute the S. W. side of the pentagon in the head of the Whale, and the N. E. side of a similar oblong figure in the neck
Three degrees S. S. W. of Gamma, is anoth star of the 3d magnitude in the lower jaw, marked Delta, constituting the E. side of the oblong pentagon; and 60 S. W. of this, is a noted star in the neck of the called the "wonderful star of 1596," which forms the S. E. side) This variable star was first noticed as such by Fabricius, on the 13th of August, 1596. It changes from a star of the 2d magnitude so as to become invisible once in 334 days, or about 7 times in 6 years. Herschel makes its period 331 days, 10 hours, and 19 minutes; while Hevelius assures us that it once disappeared for 4 years so that its true period, perhaps, has not been satisfactorily determined.
The whole number of stars ascertained to be variable, amounts to only 15; while those which are suspected to be variable, amount to 37.
Mira is 7° S. S. E.) of El Rischa, in the bend or knot of the riband which connects the Two Fishes. Ten degrees S. of Mira, are 4 small stars, in the breast and paws, about 30 apart, which form a square, the brightest being on the E. Ten de
When does it approach, and when does it leave the meridian? What is the whole number of stars in Cetus? What is the magnitude of the principal ones? How may the head of Cetus be distinguished? What are the name and position of the brightest? How far is it from the equinoctial, and the principal star in the Fishes? What is its direction from Algol and the Fly? With what stars does it form an equilateral triangle? How may it otherwise be known? Describe the position of Nu. Describe the situation of Delta and Mira. When and by whom was this star discovered to be variable? What are the extent and period of this variation? How long does Herschel make it? What does Hevelius say of it? Has the true perio of Mira been satisfactorily determined? How far, and which way is Mira from Alpha, in the knot of the riband? What four small stars do you observe 10° S. of Mira?
grees S. W. of Mira, is a star of the 3d magnitude in the heart, called Baten Kaitos, which makes a scalene triangle with two other stars of the same magnitude 7° and 10° W. of it; also, an equilateral triangle with Mira and the easternmost one in the square.
A great number of geometrical figures may be formed from the stars in this, and in most of the other constellations, merely by reference to the maps; but it is better that the student should exercise his own ingenuity in this way with reference to the stars themselves, for when once he has constructed a group into any letter or figure of his own invention, he never will forget it.
The teacher should therefore require his class to commit to writing the result of their own observations upon the relative position, magnitude and figures of the principal stars in each constellation. One evening's exercise in this way will disclose to the student a surprising multitude of crosses, squares, triangles, arcs and letters, by which he will be better able to identify and remember them, than by any instructions that could be given.
For example: Mira and Baten in the Whale, about 100 apart, make up the S. E. or shorter side of an irregular square, with El Rischa in the node of the riband, and another star in the Whale as far to the right of Baten, as El Rischa is above Mira. Again,
There are three stars of equal magnitude, forming a straight line W. of Baten; from which, to the middle star is 10, thence to the W. one 121; and 8° or 9° S. of this line, in a triangular direction, is a bright star of the second magnitude in the coil of the tail, called Diphda.
In a southerly direction, 25° below Diphda, is Alpha in the head of the Phenix, and about the same distance S. W. is Fomalhaut, in the mouth of the Southern Fish, forming together a large triangle. with Diphda in the vertex or top of it.
That fine cluster of small stars S. of the little square in the Whale, constitutes a part of a new constellation called the Chymical Furnace. The two stars N. E. and the three to the southward of the little square, are in the river Eridanus.
HISTORY.-This constellation is of very early antiquity; though most writers consider it the famous sea monster sent by Neptune to devour Andromeda be. cause her mother Cassiopeia had boasted herself fairer than Juno or the Sea Nymphs; but slain by Perseus and placed among the stars in honour of his achievement.
"The winged hero now descends, now soars,
It is quite certain, however, that this constellation had a place in the heavens long prior to the time of Perseus. When the equinoctial sun in Aries, which is right over the head of Cetus, opened the year, it was denominated the Preserver or Deliverer, by the idolaters of the East. On this account, according to Pausanias, the sun was worshipped, at Eleusis, under the name of the Preserver or Saviour
"With gills pulmonic breathes the enormous whale,
Sports on the shining wave at noontide hours,
And shifting rainbows crest the rising showers."-Darwin.
PERSEUS, ET CAPUT MEDUSÆ.
PERSEUS is represented (with a sword in his right hand, the head of Medusa in his left, and wings at his feet. It is situ
How is Baten Kaitos situated? What is said of the various figures that different constellations exhibit? Give an example. Of what constellation does that fine cluster of stars of the little square in the Whale, constitute a part? How is the constellation Perseus represented?
ated directly N. of the Pleiades and the Fly, between Andromeda on the W. and Auriga on the E. Its mean declination is 49° N. It is on the meridian the 24th of December) It contains including the head of Medusa, 59 stars two of which are of the 2d magnitude, and four of the 3d According to Eudosia, it contains, including the head of Medusa, 67 stars.
Brandishes high in heaven his sword of flame,
THE HEAD OF MEDUSA is not a separate constellation, but forms a part of Perseus.)
It is represented as the trunkless head of a frightful Gorgon, crowned with coiling snakes, instead of hair, which the victor Perseus holds in his hand.
There are, in all, about (a dozen stars in the Head of Medusa; three of the 4th magnitude, and one, varying alternately from the 2d to the 4th magnitude. This remarkable star is called Algol. It is situated 120 E. of Almaach, in the foot of Andromeda, and may be known by means of three stars of the 4th magnitude, lying a few degrees S. W. of it, and forming a small triangle.)
It is on the meridian (the 21st of December; but as it continues above the horizon 18 hours out of 24, it may be seen every evening from September to May It varies from the 2d to the 4th magnitude in about 3 hours, and back again in the same time) after which it remains steadily brilliant for 23 days, when the same changes recur.
The periodical variation of Algol was determined in 1783, by John Goodricke of York (Eng.) to be 2 days, 20 hours, 48 minutes, and 56 seconds,
Dr. Herschel attributes the variable appearance of Algol to spots upon its surface, and thinks it has a motion on its axis similar to that of the sun.) He also observes, of variable stars generally :-"The rotary motion of stars upon their axes is a capital feature in their resemblance to the sun. It appears to me now, that we cannot refuse to admit such a motion, and that indeed it may be as evidently proved as the diurnal mo
Where is it situated? What is its declination, and when is it on the meridian? What is the whole number of its stars? What is the magnitude of its principal ones? Of what constellation does Caput Medusæ form a par? How is it represented? What is the whole number of its stars? What is the magnitude of the principal ones? What are the name and position of the variable star in this constellation? When is it on the meridian, and how long may it be seen? In what time does it vary from the 2d to the 4th magnitude, and back again? How long is it steadily brilliant? When and by whom was its periodical variation determined? What is its exact period? To what does Dr Herschel attribute its variable appearance?