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stellation. Four or five degrees S. of Rigel are four very minute stars, in the ears of the Hare.)
HISTORY.-This constellation is situated about 18° west of the Great Dog, which, from the motion of the earth, seems to be pursuing it, as the Greyhounds do the Bear, round the circuit of the skies. It was one of those animals which Orion is said to have delighted in hunting, and which, for this reason, was made into a constellation and placed near him among the stars.
NOAH'S DOVE. This constellation is situated about 16° S. of the Hare, and is nearly on the same meridian with the "Three Stars," in the belt of Orion, It contains only 10 stars; one of the 2d, one of the 3d, and two of the 4th magnitudes; of these, Phaet and Beta are the brightest, and are about 210 apart. Phaet, the principal star, lies on the right and is the highest of the two; Beta may be known by means of a smaller star just east of it, marked Gamma. A line drawn from the easternmost star in the belt of Orion, 32° directly south, will point out Phaet; it is also 110 S. of the lower left hand star in the square of the Hare, and makes with Sirius and Naos, in the ship, a large equilateral triangle.
HISTORY.-This constellation is so called in commemoration of the dove which Noah "sent forth to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground," after the ark had rested on mount Ararat. "And the dove came in to
him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off."
"The surer messenger,
A dove sent forth once, and again to spy
Green tree or ground, whereon his foot may light:
An olive leaf he brings, pacific sign!"
THE RIVER PO. This constellation meanders over a large and very irregular space in the heavens. It is not easy, nor scarcely desirable, to trace out all its windings among the stars. Its entire length is not less than 130°; which, for the sake of a more easy reference, astronomers divide into two sections, the northern and the southern. That part of it which lies between Orion and the Whale, including the great bend about his paws, is distinguished by the name of the Northern stream; the remainder of it is called the Southern
The Northern stream commences near Rigel, in the foot
Are these all the stars that are visible in this constellation? Describe the situation of Noah's Dove. How many stars does it contain, and what are the principal? Which of these are the brightest, and how situated? How may Beta be known? What is the position of Phaet with regard to Orion? Describe the general form of the constellation Eridanus. What is its entire length, and how is it divided? By what names are these sections distinguished? What are the course and distance of the Northern stream?
of Orion, and flows out westerly, in a serpentine course, nearly 40°, to the Whale, where it suddenly makes a complete circuit and returns back nearly the same distance towards its source, but bending gradually down towards the south, when it again makes a similar circuit to the S. W. and finally disappears below the horizon.
West of Rigel there are five or six stars of the 3d and 4th magnitudes, arching up in a semicircular form, and marking the first bend of the northern stream. About 8° below these, or 19° W. of Rigel, is a bright star of the 2d magnitude, in the second bend of the northern stream, marked Gamma. This star cul minates 13 minutes after the Pleiades, and one hour and a quarter before Rigel. Passing Gamma, and a smaller star west of it, there are four stars nearly in a row, which bring us to the breast of Cetus. 8° N. of Gamma, is a small star named Kied, which is thought by some to be considerably nearer the earth than Sirius
Theemim, in the southern stream, is a star of the 3d magnitude, about 17° S. W. of the square in Lepus, and may be known by means of a smaller star, 10 above it. Achernar is a brilliant star of the 1st magnitude, in the extremity of the southern stream; but having 58° of S. declination, can never be seen in this latitude.
The whole number of stars in this constellation is 84; of which, one is of the 1st magnitude, one of the 2d, and eleven are of the 3d. Many of these cannot be pointed out by verbal description; they must be traced from the map.
HISTORY.-Eridanus is the name of a celebrated river in Cisalpine Gaul, also called Padus. Its modern name is Po. Virgil calls it the king of rivers. The Latin poets have rendered it memorable from its connexion with the fable of Phaeton, who, being a son of Phoebus and Clymene, became a favourite of Venus, who intrusted him with the care of one of her temples. This favour of the goddess made him vain, and he sought of his father a public and incontestable sign of his tenderness, that should convince the world of his origin. Phoebus, after some hesitation, made oath that he would grant him whatever he required, and no sooner was the oath uttered, than
"The youth, transported, asks without delay,
For anguish thrice his radiant head he shook ;--
That hurls the three-forked thunder from above,
Turas stars and planets in a diff'rent course.
I steer against their motions; nor am I
Borne back by all the current of the sky :
In adverse whirls, and stem the rapid poll?"
Phoebus represented the dangers to which he would be exposed in vain. He undertook the aerial journey, and the explicit directions of his father were forgotten. No sooner had Phaeton received the reins than he betrayed his ignorance of the manner of guiding the chariot. The flying coursers became sensible of the confusion of their driver, and immediately departed from the usual track. Phaeton repented too late of his rashness, and already heaven and earth
Describe its first bend? Describe the position of Gamma, and tell when it comes to the meridian? What stars are between Gamma and the Whale? What small star about 80 above Gamma, and what is its distance from the earth compared with that of Sirius? Describe the situation of Theemim. Describe the position and magnitude of Archernar? What is the whole number of stars in this constellation? What is the magnitude of the principal ones?
were threatened with a universal conflagration as the consequence, when Jupiter, perceiving the disorder of the horses, struck the driver with a thunderbolt, and hurled him headlong from heaven into the river Eridanus. His body, con sumed with fire, was found by the nymphs of the place, who honoured nim with a decent burial, and inscribed this epitaph upon his tomb :
"Hic situs est Phaeton, currus auriga paterni:
Quene si non tenuit, magnis tamen excidit ausis."
His sisters mourned his unhappy end, and were changed by Jupiter into poplars.
"All the long night their mournful watch they keep,
And all the day stand round the tomb and weep." OVID.
It is said the tears which they shed, turned to amber, with which the Phænicians and Carthaginians carried on in secrecy a most lucrative trade. The great heat produced on the occasion of the sun's departing out of his usual course, is said to have dried up the blood of the Ethiopians, and turned their skins black; and to have produced sterility and barrenness over the greater part of Lybia.
"At once from life and from the chariot driven,
Th' ambitious boy fell thunderstruck from heaven."
"The breathless Phaeton, with flaming hair,
That in a summer's evening from the top
Of heav'n drops down, or seems at least to drop,
Far from his country, in the western world."
The fable of Phaeton evidently alludes to some extraordinary heats which were experienced in a very remote period, and of which only this confused tradition has descended to later times.
THE CHARIO TEER, called also the Wagoner, is represented on the celestial map by the figure of a man in a declining posture, resting one foot upon the horn of Taurus, with a goat and her kids in his left hand, and a bridle in his right,
It is situated N. of Taurus and Orion, between Perseus on the W. and the Lynx on the E. Its mean declination is 45° N.; so that when on the meridian, it is almost directly over head in New England. It is on the same meridian with Orion, and culminates at the same hour of the night. Both of these constellations are on the meridian at 9 o'clock on the 24th of January, and 1 hour and 40 minutes east of it on the 1st of January
The whole number of visible stars in Auriga, is 66, including one of the 1st and one of the 2d magnitude, which mark the shoulders. Capella is the principal star in this constellation, and is one of the most brilliant in the heavens. It takes its name from Capella, the goat, which hangs upon the left shoulder. It is situated in the west shoulder of Auriga,
How is the constellation Auriga represented? Where is it situated? What is its mean declination, and what its position on the meridian? How is it situated in respect to Orion? When are these constellations on the meridian? What is the whole number of visible stars in Auriga? How many of the 1st and 2d magnitude? What is the name of the principal star, and whence derived? Where is this situated?
24° E. of Algol, and 280 N. E. of the Pleiades. It may be known by a little sharp-pointed triangle formed by three stars. 3 or 4 this side of it, on the left. It is also 18° N, of Eĺ Nath, which is common to the northern horn of Taurus, and the right foot of Auriga. Capella comes to the meridian on the 19th of January, just 2 minutes before Rigel, in the foot of Orion, which it very much resembles in brightness.
Menkalina, in the east shoulder, is a star of the 2d magnitude, 710 E. of Capella, and culminates the next minute after Betelguese, 373 S. of it. Theta, in the right arin, is a star of the 4th magnitude, 8° directly south of Menkalina.)
It may be remarked as a curious coincidence, that the two stars in the shoulders of Auriga are of the same magnitude, and just as far apart as those in Orion, and opposite to them. Again, the two stars in the shoulders of Auriga, with the two in the shoulders of Orion, mark the extremities of a long, narrow parallelogram, lying N. and S., and whose leng h is just five times its breadth. Also, the two stars in Auriga, and the two in Orion, make two slender and similar triangles, both meeting in a common point, half way between them at El Nath, in the northern horn of Taurus.
(Delta, a star of the 4th magnitude in the head of Auriga, is about 9° N. of the two in the shoulders, with which it makes a triangle, about half the height of those just alluded to, with the vertex at Delta. The two stars in the shoulders are therefore the base of two similar triangles, one extending about 9° N., to the head, the other 18° S., to the heel, on the top of the horn: both figures together reseinbling an elongated diamond.
Delta in the head, Menkalina in the right shoulder, and Theta in the arm of Auriga, make a straight line with Betelguese in Orion, Delta in the square of the Hare, and Beta in Noah's Dove; all being very nearly on the same meridian, 4° W. of the solstitial colure.
"See next the Goatherd with his kids; he shines
Of which Capella never sets to us,"
And scarce a star with equal radiance beams
Due to the second order."-Eudosia.
HISTORY.-The Greeks give various accounts of this constellation; some sup. pose it to be Erichthonius, the fourth king of Athens, and son of Vulcan and Minerva, who awarded him a place among the constellations or account of his many useful inventions. He was of a monstrous shape. He is said to have invented chariots, and to have excelled all others in the management of horses. In allusion to this, Virgil has the following lines:
"Primus Erichthonius currus et quatuor ausus
Georgic. Lib. iii. p. 113
"Bold Erichthonius was the first who join'd
And o'er the dusty wheels presiding sate "-Dryden.
Other writers say that Bootes invented the chariot, and that Auriga was the son of Mercury, and charioteer to Enomaus, king of Pisa, and so experienced, hat he rendered his horses the swiftest in all Greece. But as neither of these fables seems to account for the goat and her kids, it has been supposed that they refer to Almathæa and her sister Melissa, who fed Jupiter, during his infancy,
In the latitude of London; but in the latitude of New England, Capella disappears below the horizon, in the N. N. W., for a few hours, and then reappears in the N. N. E.
How may it be known? What are its distance and direction from El Nath, in the horn of Taurus? When does Capella come to the meridian? Describe the star in the east shoulder of Auriga. Describe Theta. What curious coincidence exists between the stars in the shoulders of Auriga and those in the shoulders of Orion? Describe the situation of Delta. The two stars in the shoulders of Auriga form the base of two triangles; please describe them. What stars in Auriga, Orion, the Hare, and the Dove, are on the same meridian? How far is this line of stars west of the solstitial colure?
with goat's milk, and that, as a reward for their kindness, they were placed in the heavens. But there is no reason assigned for their being placed in the arms of Auriga, and the inference is unavoidable, that mythology is in fault on this point.
Jamieson is of opinion that Auriga is a mere type or scientific symbol of the beautiful fable of Phaeton, because he was the attendant of Phoebus at that remote period when Taurus opened the year.
THE CAMELOPARD.-This constellation was made by Hevelius out of the unformed stars which lay scattered between Perseus, Auriga, the head of Ursa Major, and the Pole Star.) It is situated directly N. of Auriga and the head of the Lynx, and occupies nearly all the space between these and the pole. It contains (58) small stars; the five largest of which are only of the 4th magnitude. The principal star lies in the thigh, and is about 20° from Capella, in a northerly direction. It marks the northern boundary of the temperate zone; being less than one degree S. of the Arctic circle. There are two other stars of the 4th magnitude near the right knee, 12° N. E. of the first mentioned. They may be known by their standing 1° apart and alone.
The other stars in this constellation are too small, and too much scattered to invite observation.
HISTORY.-The Camelopard is so called from an animal of that name, peculiar to Ethiopia. This animal resembles both the camel and the leopard. Its body is spotted like that of the leopard. Its neck is about seven feet long, its fore and hind legs, from the hoof to the second joint, are nearly of the same length; but from the second joint of the legs to the body, the fore legs are so long in comparison with the hind ones, that no person could sit upon its back, without instantly sliding off as from a horse that stood up on his hind feet.
DIRECTIONS FOR TRACING THE CONSTELLATIONS WHICH ARE ON THE MERIDIAN IN FEBRUARY.
THE Constellation of the Lynx like that of the Camelopard, exhibits no very interesting features by which it can be distinguished It contains only a moderate number of inferior stars, scattered over a large space N. of Gemini, and between Auriga and Ursa Major. The whole number is 44, including
Of what was the Camelopard made? Where is it situated? What is the whole number of stars? What is the magnitude of the largest? What are the name and position of the principal one? Where are the other principal stars situated? How may they be known? Whence does it derive its name? What is the situation of the Lynx? What are the number and magnitude of its stars?