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This constellation is situated between Corona Borealis, on the east, and Cor Caroli, or the Greyhounds, on the west. It contains fifty-four stars, including one of the 1st magnitude, seven of the 3d, and ten of the 4th. Its mean declination is 20° N., and its mean right ascension is 212°; its centre is therefore on the meridian the 9th of June.
Bootes may be easily distinguished by the position and splendour of its principal star, Arcturus, which shines with a reddish lustre, very much resembling that of the planet Mars.
Arcturus is a star of the 1st magnitude, situated near the left knee, 26° S. E. of Cor Caroli and Coma Berenices, with which it forms an elongated triangle, whose vertex is at Arcturus. It is 354o E. of Denebola, and nearly as far N. of Spica Virginis, and forms with these two, as has already been observed, a large equilateral triangle. It also makes, with Cor Caroli and Denebola, a large triangle whose vertex is in Cor Caroli.
A great variety of geometrical figures may be formed of the stars in this bright region of the skies. For example; Cor Caroli on the N., and Spica Virginis in the S., constitute the extreme points of a very large figure in the shape of a diamond; while Denebola on the W. and Arcturus on the E., limit the mean diameter at the other points.
Arcturus is supposed, by some, to be nearer the earth than any other star in the northern hemisphere.
Five or six degrees S. W. of Arcturus are three stars of the 3d and 4th magni. tudes, lying in a curved line, about 20 apart, and a little below the left knee of Bootes; and about 7° E. of Arcturus are three or four other stars of similar magnitude, situated in the other leg, making a larger curve N. and S.
Mirac, in the girdle, is a star of the 3d magnitude, 10° N. N. E. of Arcturus, and about 11° W of Alphacca, a star in the Northern Crown. Seginus, in the west shoulder, is a star of the 3d magnitude, nearly 20 E. of Cor Caroli, and about the same distance N. of Arcturus, and forins, with these two, a right angled triangle, the right angle being at Seginus. The same star forms a right angled triangle with Cor Caroli and Alioth, in Ursa Major, the right angle being at Cor Caroli.
Alkaturops, situated in the top of the club, is a star of the 4th magnitude, about 101 in an easterly direction from Seginus, which lies in the left shoulder and about 440 S. of Alkaturops is another star of the 4th magnitude, in the club near the east shoulder, marked Delta. Delta is about 90 distant from Mirac, and 71° from Alphacca, and forms, with these two, a regular triangle.
Nekhar is a star of the 3d magnitude, situated in the head, and is about 6° N. E. of Seginus, and 5° W. of Alkaturops; it forms, with Delta and Seginus, nearly a right angled triangle, the right angle being at Nekkar.
These are the principal stars in this constellation, except the three stars of the 4th magnitude situated in the right hand. These stars may be known, by two of them being close together, and about 5° beyond Benetnasch, the first star
How is this constellation situated? How many stars does it contain? How large are the principal ones? What is its mean right ascension? What is its mean declination? When is its centre on the meridian? How is it easily distinguished from the surrounding constellations? Describe Arcturus. What is its situation with respect to Denebola and Spica Virginis? How is it situated with respect to Cor Caroli and Denebola? What remarkable configuration in this part of the sky? What is the distance of Arcturus from the earth, compared with that of the other stars in the northern hem isphere? What stars five or six degrees southwest of Arcturus? What stars in the other leg? Describe the star Mirac. Describe Seginus. With what other stars does Seginus form a right angled triangle? Describe the position of Alkaturops. Describe the position of Delta. Describe Nekkar.
in the handle of the Dipper. About 60 E. of Benetnasch is another star of the 4th magnitude, situated in the arm, which forms, with Benetnasch and the three in the hand, an equilateral triangle.
The three stars in the left hand of Bootes, the first in the handle of the Dipper, Cor Caroli, Coma Berenices, and Denebola, are all situated nearly in the same right line, running from northeast to southwest.
"Bootes follows with redundant light;
MANILIUS thus speaks of this constellation:
"And next Bootes comes, whose order'd beams
Below his girdle, near his knees, he bears
Arcturus is mentioned by name in that beautiful passage in Job, already referred to, where the Almighty answers 66 of the whirlwind," and says:—
"Canst thou the sky's benevolence restrain,
And cause the Pleiades to shine in vain ?
And teach the bright Arcturus where to glow?"
HISTORY.-The ancient Greeks called this constellation Lycaon-a name de. rived from Auxos, which signifies a wolf. The Hebrews called it Caleb Anubach, the "Barking Dog;" while the Latins, among other names, called it Canis. If we go back to the time when Taurus opened the year, and when Virgo was the fifth of the zodiacal signs, we shall find that brilliant star Arcturus, so remarkable for its red and fiery appearance, corresponding with a period of the year as remarkable for its heat. Pythagoras, who introduced the true system of the universe into Greece, received it from Enuphis, a priest of On, in Egypt. And this college of the priesthood was the noblest of the east, in cultivating the studies of philosophy and astronomy. Among the high honours which Pharaoh conferred on Joseph, he very wisely gave him in marriage "a daughter of the priest of On." The supposed era of the book of Job, in which Arcturus is repeatedly mentioned, is 1513 B. C.
Bootes is supposed by some to be Icarus, the father of Erigone, who was killed by shepherds for intoxicating them. Others maintain that it is Ericthonius, the inventor of chariots. According to Grecian fable, as well as later authorities, Bootes was the son of Jupiter and Calisto, and named Arcas. Ovid relates, that* Juno, being incensed at Jupiter for his partiality to Calisto, changed her into a bear, and that her son Arcas, who becaine a famous hunter, one day roused a bear in the chase, and not knowing that it was his mother, was about to kill her, when Jupiter snatched them both up to heaven and placed them among the constellations. Met. b. ii. v. 496-508.
"But now her son had fifteen summers told,
Describe the three stars in the left hand of Bootes. What stars in this neighbourhood form a long line through the heavens? Where is Arcturus mentioned in the Scrip
Where the new constellations nightly rise,
LUCAN, in his Pharsalia, says,
"That Brutus, on the busy times intent,
This constellation is called Bootes, says Cicero, (Nat. Deo. Lib. ii. 42,) from a Greek word signifying a wagoner, or ploughman; and sometimes Arctophylax, from two Greek words signifying bear-keeper or bear-driver.
"Arctophylax, vulgo qui dicitur esse Bootes,
Quod quasi temone adjunctum præ se quatit Arctum."
The stars in this region of the skies seem to have attracted the admiration of almost all the eminent writers of antiquity. Claudian observes, that
"Bootes with his wain the north unfolds;
And Aratus,* who flourished nearly 800 years before Claudian, says,
THE CENTAUR.-This fabulous monster is represented by
This is the poet whom St. Paul refers to when he tells the Athenians, Acts xvii.
28, that "some of their own poets have said," "Tov yap xxl gevos soμy: For we are also his offspring." These words are the beginning of the 5th line of the "Phenomena," of Aratus; a celebrated Greek poem written in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, two thousand one hundred years ago, and afterwards translated into Latin verse by Cicero. Aratus was a poet of St. Paul's own country. The apostle borrows again from the same poet, both in his Epistle to the Galatians, and to Titus. The subject of the poem was grand and interesting: hence we find it referred to in the writings of St. Clement, St. Jerome, St. Chrysostom, Ecumenius, and others. As this poem describes the nature and motions of the stars, and the origin of the constellations, and is, moreover, one of the oldest compositions extant, upon this interesting subject, the author has taken some pains to procure a Polyglot copy from Germany, together with the Astronomicon of Manilius, and some other works of similar antiquity, that nothing should be wanting on his part which could impart an interest to the study of the constellations, or illustrate the frequent allusions to them which we meet with in the Scriptures.
Dr. Doddridge says of the above quotation, that "these words are well known to be found in Aratus, a poet of Paul's own country, who lived almost 300 years before the apostle's time; and that the same words, with the alteration of only one letter, are to be found in the Hymn of Cleanthes, to Jupiter, the Supreme God; which is, beyond comparison, the purest and finest piece of natural religion, of its length, which I know in the whole world of Pagan antiquity; and which, so far as I can recollect, contains nothing unworthy of a Christian, or, I had almost said, of an inspired pen. The apostle might perhaps refer to Cleanthes, as well as to his countryman Aratus."
Many of the elements and fables of heathen mythology are so blended with the inspired writings, that they must needs be studied, more or less, in order to have a more proper understanding of numerous passages both in the Old and New Testament.
The great apostle of the Gentiles, in uttering his inspired sentiments, and in penning his epistles, often refers to, and sometimes quotes verbatim from the distinguished writers who preceded him.
Thus, in 1 Cor. xv. 33, we have “ Μη πλανασθε “Φθειρουσιν ήθη χρησθ ̓ ομιλια
ж1. Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners;" which is a literal quotation by the apostle from the Thais of Menander, an inventor of Greek comedy, and a celebrated Athenian poet, who flourished nearly 400 years before the apostle wrote his epistle to the Corinthians. Thus Paul adopts the sentiment of the comedian, and it becomes hallowed by "the divinity that stirred within him." Tertullian remarks, that " in quoting this, the apostle hath sanctified the poet's sentiment."
How is the Centaur represented?
the figure of a man terminating in the body of a horse, holding a wolf at arm's length in one hand, while he transfixes its body with a spear in the other.
Although this constellation occupies a large space in the southern hemisphere, yet it is so low down that the main part of it cannot be seen in our latitude. It is situated south of Spica Virginis, with a mean declination of 50°. It contains thirty-five stars, including two of the 1st magnitude, one of the 2d, and six of the 3d; the brightest of which are not visible in the United States.
Theta, is a star of between the 2d and 3d magnitude, in the east shoulder, and may be seen from this latitude during the month of June, being about 27° S. by E. from Spica Virginis, and 12° or 130 above the southern horizon. It is easily recognised, in a clear evening, from the circumstance that there is no other star of similar brightness, in the same region, for which it can be mistaken. It is so nearly on the same meridian with Arcturus that it culminates but ten minutes before it.
Iota, is a star of between the 4th and 5th magnitude, in the west shoulder, 910 W. of Theta. It is about 26° almost directly south of Spica Virginis, and is on the meridian nearly at the same time.
Mu and Nu, are stars of the 4tn magnitude, in the breast, very near together, and form a regular triangle with the two stars in the shoulders.
A few degrees north of the two stars in the shoulders, are four small stars in the head. The relative position of the stars in the head and shoulders is very similar to that of the stars in the head and shoulders of Orion.
HISTORY.-Centaurs, in mythology, were a kind of fabulous monsters, half men and half horses. This fable is, however, differently interpreted; some suppose the Centaurs to have been a body of shepherds and herdsmen, rich in cattle, who inhabited the mountains of Arcadia, and to whom is attributed the invention of pastoral poetry. But Plutarch and Pliny are of opinion, that such monsters have really existed. Others say, that under the reign of Ixion, king of Thessaly, a herd of bulls ran mad, and ravaged the whole country, rendering the mountains inaccessible; and that some young men, who had found the art of taming and mounting horses, undertook to expel these noxious animals, which they pursued on horseback, and thence obtained the appellation of Centaurs.
This success rendering them insolent, they insulted the Lapithæ, a people of Thessaly; and because, when attacked, they fled with great rapidity, it was sup posed that they were half horses and half men; men on horses being at that period a very uncommon sight, and the two appearing, especially at a distance, to constitute but one animal. So the Spanish cavalry at first seemed to the astonished Mexicans, who imagined the horse and his rider, like the Centaurs of the ancients, to be some monstrous animal of a terrible form.
The Centaurs, in reality, were a tribe of Lapithæ, who resided near Mount Pelion, and first invented the art of breaking horses, as intimated by Virgil:—
"The Lapithæ to chariots add the state
Of bits and bridles; taught the steed to bound;
THE WOLF. This constellation is situated next east of the Centaur, and south of Libra; and is so low down in the
What is the situation of this constellation? What are the number and magnitude of its stars? Describe the situation of Theta. How is it easily recognised in a clear evening? What is its distance from the meridian of Arcturus? Describe the star in the west shoulder. Describe the stars in the breast. Where is the Wolf situated?
southern hemisphere, that only a few stars in the group are visible to us.
It contains twenty-four stars, including three of the 3d mag nitude, and as many of the 4th; the brightest of which, when on the meridian, may be seen in a clear evening, just above the southern horizon. Their particular situation, however, will be better traced out by reference to the map than by written directions.
The most favourable time for observing this constellation, is towards the latter end of June.
HISTORY.-This constellation, according to fable, is Lycaon, king of Arcadia, who lived about 3,600 years ago, and was changed into a wolf by Jupiter, because he offered human victims on the altars of the god Pan. Some attribute this metamorphosis to another cause. The sins of mankind, as they relate, had become so enormous, that Jupiter visited the earth to punish its wickedness and impiety. He came to Arcadia, where he was announced as a god, and the people began to pay proper adoration to his divinity. Lycaon, however, who used to sacrifice all strangers to his wanton cruelty, laughed at the pious prayers of his subjects, and to try the divinity of the god, served up human flesh on his table. This im piety so offended Jupiter, that he immediately destroyed the house of Lycaon, and changed him into a wolf.
"Of these he murders one; he boils the flesh,
Some part he roasts; then serves it up, so dress'd,
The neighb'ring fields, and scours along the plains:
THE BALANCE. This is the seventh sign, and eighth constellation, from vernal equinox, and is situated in the Zodiac, next east of Virgo.
The sun enters this sign, at the autumnal equinox, on the 23d of September; but does not reach the constellation before the 27th of October.
Virgo was the goddess of justice, and Libra, the scales, which she is usually represented as holding in her left hand, are the appropriate emblem of her office. When the sun enters the sign Libra, the days and nights are equal all over the
How many stars does it contain? Under what circumstances may the brightest of them be seen? How may the stars in this group be most conveniently traced out? When is the most favourable time for observing this constellation? How is Libra situated among the constellations of the Zodiac? At what season of the year does the sun enter Libra? Who was Virgo, and what was the emblem of her office? What is the relative length of the days and nights when the sun enters Libra?