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HISTORY.-According to the Grecian mythology, this is the animal which bore Europa over the seas to that country, which derived from her its name. She was the daughter of Agenor, and princess of Phoenicia. She was so beautiful that Jupiter became enamoured of her; and assuming the shape of a snow-white bull, he mingled with the herds of Agenor, while Europa, with her female attendants, were gathering flowers in the meadows. Europa caressed the beau tiful animal. and at last had the courage to sit upon his back. The god now took advantage of her situation, and with precipitate steps retired towards the shore, and crossed the sea with Europa upon his back, and arrived safe in Crete. Some suppose she lived about 1552 years before the Christian era. It is probable, however, that this constellation had a place in the Zodiac before the Greeks began to cultivate a knowledge of the stars; and that it was rather an invention of the Egyptians or Chaldeans. Both the Egyptians and Persians worshipped a deity under this figure, by the name of Apis; and Belzoni is said to have found an embalmed bull in one of the notable sepulchres near Thebes. In the Hebrew Zodiac, Taurus is ascribed to Joseph.
Whoever looks up to this constellation and learns its name, will never forget it. It is too beautifully splendid to need a description. When it is on the meridian, there is then above the horizon the most magnificent view of the celestial bodies that the starry firmament affords and it is visible to all the habitable world, because the equinoctial passes through the middle of the constellation. It is represented on celestial maps by the figure of a man in the attitude of assaulting the Bull, with a sword in his belt, a huge club in his right hand, and the skin of a lion in his left, to serve for a shield.
Manilius, a Latin poet, who composed five books on astronomy a short time before the birth of our Saviour thus describes its appearance:
"First next the Twins, see great Orion rise,
The centre of the constellation is midway between the poles of the heavens and directly over the equator. It is also about 80 W. of the solstitial colure, and comes to the meridian about the 23d of January. The whole number of visible stars in this constellation is 78; of which, two are of the first magnitude, four of the 2d, three of the 3d, and fifteen of the 4th.
(Those four brilliant stars in the form of a long square or
What is the general appearance of the constellation Orion? When this constellation is on the meridian, what is the appearance of the starry firmament? To whom is it visible, and why? How is Orion represented on celestial maps? Describe its position. How is it situated with respect to the solstitial colure, and when is it on the meridian? What remarkable stars form the outline of the constellation?
parallelogram, intersected in the middle by the "Three Stars," or "Ell and Yard," about 25° S. of the Bull's horns, form the outlines of Orion. The two upper stars in the parallelogram are about 15° N. of the two lower ones; and, being placed on each shoulder, may be called the epaulets of Orion. (The brightest of the two lower ones is in the left foot, on the W., and the other, which is the least brilliant of
trix is a star of the 2d magnitude on the W. shoulder; Betelguese is a star of the 1st magnitude, 710 E. of Bellatrix, on the E. shoulder, It is brighter than Bellatrix, and lies a little farther towards the north and comes to the meridian (30 minutes after it, on the 21st of January. These two form the upper end of the parallelogram.
(Rigel is a splendid star of the 1st magnitude, in the left foot, on the W. and 15° S. of Bellatrix. Saiph, is a star of the 3d magnitude, in the right knee, 81° E. of Rigel. These two form the lower end of the parallelogram.
"First in rank
The martial star upon his shoulder flames:
And on his girdle beams a luminary
(There is a little triangle of three small stars in the head of Orion, which forms a larger triangle with the two in his shoulders. In the middle of the parallelogram are three stars of the 2d magnitude, in the belt of Orion, that form a straight line about 30 in length from N. W. to S. E. They are usually distinguished by the name of the Three Stars, because there are no other stars in the heavens that exactly resemble them in position and brightness. They are sometimes denominated the Three Kings, because they point out the Hyades and Pleiades on one side, and Sirius, or the Dog-star on the other. In Job they are called the Bands of Orion; while the ancient husbandmen called them Jacob's rod, and sometimes the Rake. The University of Leipsic, in 1807, gave them the name of Napoleon. But the more common appellation for them, including those in the sword, is the Ell and Yard. They derive the latter name from the circumstance that the line which unites the "three stars" in the belt measures just 3° in length) and is divided by the central star
Describe the two upper ones in the group. Describe the two lower ones. Give a more particular description of the stars in the shoulder. How do you distinguish Betelguese from Bellatrix? When does Betelguese come to the meridian? Describe the stars which form the lower end of the parallelogram. What stars do you observe in the head of Orion? Describe the situation and appearance of the "Three Stars?" Why are they called the three stars? What else are they denominated, and way? What names were given to them by the ancients? What by the University of Leipsic? What is the more familiar term for them. and whence is it derived?
into two equal parts, like a yard-stick; thus serving as a graduated standard for measuring the distances of stars from each other.) When therefore any star is described as being so many degrees from another, in order to determine the distance, it is recommended to apply this rule.
It is necessary that the scholar should task his ingenuity only a few evenings in applying such a standard to the stars, before he will learn to judge of their reiative distances with an accuracy that will seldom vary a degree froni the truth.
The northernmost star in the belt, called Mintika, is less than S. of the equinoctial, and when on the meridian, is almost exactly over the equator. It is on the meridian, the 24th of January.*
The "three stars" are situated about 8° W. of the solstitial colure, and uniformly pass the meridian one hour and fifty minutes after the seven stars.
There is a row of stars of the 4th and 5th magnitudes, S. of the belt, running down obliquely towards Saiph, which forms the sword. This row is also called the Ell because it is once and a quarter the length of the Yard or belt.
A very little way below Thabit, in the sword, there is a nebulous appearance, the most remarkable one in the heavens. With a good telescope an apparent opening is discovered, through which, as through a window, we seem to get a glimpse of other heavens, and brighter regions beyond.
As the telescope extends our knowledge of the stars and greatly increases their visible number, we behold hundreds and thousands, which, but for this almost divine improvement of our vision, had forever remained, unseen by us, in an unfathomable void.
A star in Orion's sword, which appears single to the unassisted vision, is multiplied into six by the telescope; and another, into twelve. Galileo found 80 in the belt, 21 in a nebulous star in the head, and about 500 in another part of Orion, within the compass of one or two degrees. Dr. Hook saw 78 stars in the Pleiades, and Rheita with a better telescope, saw about 200 in the same cluster, and more than 2000 in Orion.
About 9° W. of Bellatrix are eight stars, chiefly of the 4th magnitude, in a curved line running N. and S. with the concavity towards Orion; these point out the skin of the lion in his left hand. Of Orion, on the whole, we may remark with Eudosia :
"He who admires not, to the stars is blind."
HISTORY.-According to some authorities, Orion was the son of Neptune and queen Euryale, a famous Amazonian huntress, and possessing the disposition of
Though the position of this star, with respect to the equator, is the same at all times, whether it be on the meridian or in the horizon; yet it appears to occupy this position, only when it is on the meridian.
How may the distances of the stars from each other be measured by reference to the yard? How are the three stars situated with respect to the solstitial colure, and how with respect to the seven stars? Describe the stars which form the sword of Orion. What else is this row called? Describe the nebulous appearance which is visible in this cluster. What other discoveries has the telescope made in this constellation? What stars about 90 W. of Bellatrix?
his mother, he became the greatest hunter in the world, and even boasted that there was not an animal on earth which he could not conquer. To punish this vanity, it is said that a scorpion sprung up out of the earth and bit his foot, that he died; and that at the request of Diana he was placed among the stars directly opposite to the Scorpion that caused his death. Others say that Orion had no mother, but was the gift of the gods, Jupiter, Neptune, and Mercury, to a peasant of Boeotia, as a reward of piety, and that he was invested with the power of walking over the sea without wetting his feet. In strength and stature he surpassed all other mortals. He was skilled in the working of iron, from which he fabri cated a subterranean palace for Vulcan; he also walled in the coasts of Sicily against the inundations of the sea, and built thereon a temple to its gods.
Orion was betrothed to the daughter of Enopion, but he, unwilling to give up his daughter, contrived to intoxicate the illustrious hero and put out his eyes on the seashore where he had laid himself down to sleep. Orion, finding himself blind when he awoke, was conducted by the sound to a neighbouring forge, where he placed one of the workmen on his back, and, by his directions, went to a place where the rising sun was seen with the greatest advantage. Here he turned his face towards the luminary, and, as it is reported, inmediately recov ered his sight, and hastened to punish the perfidions cruelty of Enopion.
The daughters of Orion distinguished themselves as much as their father; and, when the oracle had declared that Botia should not be delivered from a dreadful pestilence, before two of Jupiter's children were immolated on the altars, they joyfully accepted the offer, and voluntarily sacrificed themselves for the good of their country. The deities of the infernal regions were struck at the patriotism of the two females, and immediately two stars were seen to ascend up from the earth, still smoking with their blood, and they were placed in the heavens in the form of a crown. Ovid says their bodies were burned by the Thebans, and that two persons arose from their ashes, whom the gods soon after changed into constellations.
As the constellation Orion, which rises at noon about the 9th day of March, and sets at noon about the 21st of June, is generally supposed to be accompanied, at its rising, with great rains and storms, it became extremely terrible to mariners, in the early adventures of navigation. Virgil, Ovid, and Horace, with some of the Greek poets, make mention of this.
Thus Eneas accounts for the storm which cast him on the African coast on his way to Italy:
"To that blest shore we steer'd our destined way,
All charg'd with tempests rose the baleful star,
To induce him to delay his departure, Dido's sister advises her to
"Tell him, that, charg'd with deluges of rain,
The name of this constellation is mentioned in the books of Job and Amos, and in Homer. The inspired prophet, penetrated like the psalmist of Israel, with the omniscience and power displayed in the celestial glories, utters this sublime injunction: "Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into morning." Job also, with profound veneration, adores His awful majesty who "cominandeth the sun and sealeth up the stars; who alone spreadeth out the heavens, and maketh Arcturus. Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south:" And in another place, the Almighty demands of him"Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion; canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season, or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?"
Calmet supposes that Mazzaroth is here put for the whole order of celestial bodies in the Zodiac, which, by their appointed revolutions, produce the varions seasons of the year, and the regular succession of day and night. Arcturus is the name of the principal star in Bootes, and is here put for the constellation itself. The expression, his sons, doubtless refers to Asterion and Chara, the two greyhounds, with which he seems to be pursuing the great bear around the North pole.
The following lines are copied from a work entitled "Astronomical Recreations," by J. Green, of Pennsylvania, to whom the author is indebted for many valuable hints concerning the mythology of the ancient constellations.
"When chilling winter spreads his azure skies,
His golden girdle glitters on the sight,
And the broad falchion beams in splendour bright;
And his right hand a ponderous weapon wields.
See bright Capella, and Medusa there,
Lo! in the distance, Cassiope fair
In state reposes on her golden chair;
Her beauteous daughter, bound, before ner stands,
But shrieks from her reach not her father's ear.
See last of all, around the glowing pole,
These lines are easily committed to memory, and would assist the pupil in recalling the names of the constellations in this very interesting portion of the
THE HARE.-This constellation is situated directly south of Orion, and comes to the meridian at the same time; namely on the 24th of January. It has a mean declination 18° S. and contains (19 small stars, of which, the four principal ones are of the 3d magnitude. It may be readily distinguished by means of four stars of the 3d magnitude, in the ́ form of an irregular square, or trapezium.)
Zeta, of the 4th magnitude, is the first star, and is situated in the back, 5° S. of Saiph, in Orion. About the same distance below Zeta are the four principal stars, in the legs and feet. These form the square. They are marked Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta. (Alpha and Beta otherwise called Arneb, form the N. W. end of the trapezium, and are about 3° apart. Gamma and Delta form the S. E. end, and are about 210 apart. The upper right hand one, which is Arneb, is the brightest of the four, and is near the centre of the con
Where is the constellation of the Hare situated? When does it come to the meridian? What is the whole number of its stars? What is the magnitude of its principal ones? How may it be distinguished? In what part of the animal are these stars placed? Describe the principal star in Lepus. What are the distance and direction of the square from Zeta? Describe the stars at each end of this square. Which is the brightest of the four?