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his head. He stands in a commanding posture, with his left foot over the pole, and his sceptre extended towards Cassiopeia, as if for favor and defence of the queen.
The neighboring heavens; still faithful to his queen,
This constellation is about 25° N. W. of Cassiopeia, near the 2d coil of Draco, and is on the meridian at 8 o'clock the 3d of November; but it will linger near it for many days. Like Cassiopeia, it may be seen at all hours of the night, when the sky is clear, for to us it
By reference to the lines on the map, which all meet in the pole, it will be evident that a star, near the pole, moves over a much less space in one hour, than one at the equinoctial; and generally, the nearer the pole, the narrower the space, and the slower the motion.
The stars that are so near the pole may be better described by their polar distance, than by their declination. By polar distance is meant, the distance from the pole, and is what the declination wants of 90°.
48. In this constellation there are 35 stars visible to the naked eye; of these, there glitters on the left shoulder, a star of the 3d magnitude, called Alderamin, which with two others of the same brightness, 8° and 12° apart, form a slightly curved line towards the N. E. The last, whose letter name is Gamma, is in the right knee, 19° N. of Caph, in Cassiopeia. The middle one in the line is Alphirk, in the girdle. This star is one-third of the distance from Alderamin to the pole, and nearly in the same right line.
It cannot be too well understood that the bearings, or direction of one star from another, as given in this treatise, are strictly applicable only when the latter one is on, or near the meridian. The bearings given, in many cases, are not the least approximations to what appears to be their relative position; and in some, if relied upon, will lead to errors. For example:-It is said in the preceding paragraph, that Gamma, in Cepheus, bears 19° N. of Caph in Cassiopeia. This is true, when Caph is on the meridian, but at this very moment, while the author is writing this line, Gamma appears to be 19' due west of Caph; and six months hence, will appear to be the same distance east of it. The reason is obvious; the circle which Cepheus appears to describe about the pole, is within that of Cassiopeia, and consequently when on the east side of the pole, will be within, or between Cassiopeia and the pole-that is, west of Cassiopeia. And for the same reason, when Cepheus is on the west side of the pole, it is between that and Cassiopeia, or east of it.
Let it also be remembered, that in speaking of the pole, which we shall have frequent occasion to do, in the course of this work, the North Polar Star or any imaginary point very near it, is always meant; and not, as some will vaguely apprehend, a point in the horizon, directly N. of us. The true pole of the heavens is always elevated just as many degrees above our horizon, as we are north of the Equator. If we live in 42° N. latitude, the N. pole will be 42° above our horizon. (See North Polar Star.)
49. There are also two smaller stars about 9° E. of Alderamin and Alphirk, with which they form a square; Alderamin being the upper, and Alphirk the lower one on the W. 8° apart. In the centre of this square there is a bright dot, or semi-visible
The head of Cepheus is in the Milky-Way, and may be known
48. Number of stars visible? Principal stars? Situation? 49. What other stars, and situation? Situation of the head, and how known? Distance of this Asterism from the pole star?
by three stars of the 4th magnitude in the crown, which form a small acute triangle, about 9° to the right of Alderamin. The mean polar distance of the constellation is 25°, while that of Alderamin is 28° 10′. The right ascension of the former is 338°; consequently, it is 22° E. of the equinoctial colure.
The student will understand that right ascension is reckoned on the equinoctial, from the first point of Aries, E., quite round to the same point again, which is 360°. Now, 838 measured from the same point, will reach the same point again, within 22°; which is the difference between 360° and 338°. This rule will apply to any other case.
This constellation immortalizes the name of the king of Ethiopia. The name of his queen was Cassiopeia. They were the parents of Andromeda, who was betrothed to Perseus. Cepheus was one of the Argonauts who accompanied Jason on his perilous expedition in quest of the golden fleece. Newton supposes that it was owing to this circumstance that he was placed in the heavens; and that not only this, but all the ancient constellations, relate to the Argonautic expedition, or to persons some way connected with it. Thus, he observes, that as Musæus, one of the Argonauts, was the first Greek who made a celestial sphere, he would naturally delineate on it those figures which had some reference to the expedition. Accordingly, we have on our globes to this day, the Golden Ram, the ensign of the ship in which Phryxus fled to Colchis, the scene of the Argonautic achievements. We have also the Bull with brazen hoofs, tamed by Jason; the Twins, Castor and Pollux, two sailors, with their mother Leda, in the form of a Swan, and Argo, the ship itself; the watchful Dragon, Hydra, with the Cup of Medea, and a raven upon its carcase, as an emblem of death; also Chiron, the Master of Jason, with his Altar and Sacrifice; Hercules, the Argonaut, with his club, his dart, and vulture, with the dragon, crab, and lion which he slew; and Orpheus, one of the company, with his harp. All these, says Newton, refer to the Argonauts.
Again; we have Orion, the son of Neptune, or, as some say, the grandson of Minos, with his dogs, and hare, and river, and scorpion. We have the story of Perseus in the constellation of that name, as well as in Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Andromeda, and Cetus; that of Calisto and her son Arcas, in Ursa Major; that of Icarius, and his daughter Erigone, in Bootes and Virgo. Ursa Minor relates to one of the nurses of Jupiter; Auriga, to Erichtonius; Ophiuchus, to Phorbas; Sagittarius, to Crolus, the son of one of the Muses; Capricorn, to Pan, and Aquarius to Ganymede. We have also Ariadne's crown, Bellerophon's horse, Neptune's dolphin, Ganymede's eagle, Jupiter's goat, with her kids, the asses of Bacchus, the fishes of Venus and Cupid, with their parent, the southern fish. These, according to Deltoton, comprise the Grecian constellations mentioned by the poet Aratus; and all relate, as Newton supposes, remotely or immediately to the Argonauts.
It may be remarked, however, that while none of these figures refer to any transactions of a later date than the Argonautic expedition, yet the great disagreement which appears in the mythological account of them, proves that their invention must have been of greater antiquity than that event, and that these constellations were received for some time among the Greeks, before their poets referred to them in describing the particulars of that memorable expedition.
1. a CEPHEI (Alderamin)—A FINE STAR, with a distant companion on the left shoulder of Cepheus; R. A., 21h. 15m.; Dec., 61° 54'. It is about half way between Polaris and Deneb, and 8° south-west from ẞ Cephei. A 3, white; B 10, pale blue, with a companion of the same magnitude and color.
2. B CEPHEI (Alphirk)—A DOUBLE STAR on the left side of the girdle of Cepheus, twothirds of the distance from Polaris to Alderamin. A 8, white; B 8, blue, with a very minute double star preceding.
8. Y CEPHEI (Er Rai)—A DOUBLE STAR in the knee of Cepheus, with a distant telescopic companion on the preceding parallel. A 8, yellow; B 14, dusky. R. A., 23h. 82m. 47s.; Dec., N. 76° 44' 7". This star will be the Pole star in about 2360 years.
HISTORY.-Who was Cepheus? Why placed in the heavens? What said of the origin of other constellations?
TELESCOPIC OBJECTS.-Alpha? Beta, &c.? What clusters?
4. O CEPHEI (Var) in the crown of Cepheus, a fine, though wide DOUBLE STAR; R. A. 22h. 23m. 14s.; Dec., N. 57° 35' 9". A 4%, orange tint; B 7, fine blue-the colors in fine contrast. This star is variable, with a period of 5d. Sh. 30m.
5. A LARGE AND RICH CLUSTER on the left elbow; R. A., 20h. 28m. 17s.; Dec., N. 60° 06′ 2". It is 12° due north of a Cygni; and 3° west-south-west of 7 Cephei. "A graud but distant collocation of suns bound together by mutual relations."
6. AN IRREGULAR CLUSTER between the head of Cepheus and the chain of Andromeda ; R. A., 23h. 17m. 10s.; Dec., N. 60° 43' 1". It is about one-third of the distance from 6 Cassiopeæ to a Cephei; and may be seen on Map VI., near the sceptre of Cepheus. For a telescopic view, see Map VIII., Fig. 24.
CONSTELLATIONS ON THE MERIDIAN IN DECEMBER.
ARIES (THE RAM).—-MAP II.
50. TWENTY-TWo centuries ago, as Hipparchus informs us, this constellation occupied the first sign in the ecliptic, commencing at the vernal equinox. But as the constellations gain about 50" on the equinox, at every revolution of the heavens,* they have advanced in the ecliptic nearly 31° beyond it, or more than a whole sign: so that the Fishes now occupy the same place in the Zodiac, that Aries did in the time of Hipparchus ; while the constellation Aries is now in the sign Taurus, Taurus in Gemini, and Gemini in Cancer, and so on.
ARIES is therefore now the second constellation in the Zodiac. It is situated next east of Pisces, and is midway between the Triangles and the Fly on the N. and the head of Cetus on the S. It contains 66 stars, of which, one is of the 2d, one of the 3d, and two of the 4th magnitudes.
"First, from the east, the Ram conducts the year;
The rest, when Cynthia fills the sign, are lost."
Aries is readily distinguished by means of two bright stars in the head, about 4° apart, the brightest being the most north-easterly of the two. The first, which is of the 2d magnitude, situated in the right horn, is called Alpha Arietis, or simply Arietis; the other, which is of the 3d magnitude, lying near the left horn, is called Sheratan, and may be known by another star of the 4th magnitude, in the ear, 1° S. of it, called Mesarthim, which is the first star in this constellation.
Arietis and Sheratan, are one instance out of many, where stars of more than ordinary brightness are seen together in pairs, as in the Twins, the Little Dog, &c., the brightest star being commonly on the east.
*See "Precession of the Equinoxes," page 270.
50. Constellations in this chapter? Aries 22 centuries ago? Now; and why? How listinguished? Arietis and Sheratan?
51. The position of Arietis affords important facilities to nautical science. Difficult to comprehend as it may be, to the unlearned, the skilful navigator who should be lost upon an unknown sea, or in the midst of the Pacific ocean, could, by measuring the distance between Arietis and the Moon, which often passes near it, determine at once not only the spot he was in, but his true course and distance to any known meridian or harbor on the earth. See Part II., page 206.
Arietis comes to the meridian about 12 minutes after Sheratan, on the 5th December, near where the sun does in midsummer. Arietis, also, is nearly on the same meridian with Almaack, in the foot of Andromeda, 19° N. of it, and culminates only four minutes after it. The other stars in this constellation are quite small, constituting that loose cluster which we see between the Fly on the north, and the head of Cetus on the south.
When Arietis is on the meridian, Andromeda and Cassiopeia are a little past the meridian, nearly overhead, and Perseus with the head of Medusa, is as far to the east of it. Taurus and Auriga are two or three hours lower down; Orion appears in the S. E., and the Whale on the meridian, just below Aries, while Pegasus and the Swan are seen half-way over in the west.
The manner in which the ancients divided the Zodiac into 12 equal parts, was both simple and ingenious. Having no instrument that would measure time exactly, "they took a vessel, with a small hole in the bottom, and having filled it with water, suffered the same to distill, drop by drop, into another vessel set beneath to receive it, beginning at the moment when some star rose, and continuing till it rose the next following night, when it would have performed one complete revolution in the heavens. The water falling down into the receiver they divided into twelve equal parts; and having twelve other small vessels in readiness, each of them capable of containing one part, they again poured all the water into the upper vessel, and observing the rising of some star in the Zodiac, at the same time suffered the water to drop into one of the small vessels. And as soon as it was full, they removed it, and set an empty one in its place. Just as each vessel was full, they took notice what star of the Zodiac rose at that time, and thus continued the process through the year, until the 12 vessels were filled."
Thus the Zodiac was divided into 12 equal portions, corresponding to the 12 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 more than 30° behind. The sign Aries, therefore, included all the stars embraced in the first 80° of the Zodiac, and no more. The sign Taurus, in like manner, included all those stars embraced
51. Position of Arietis? Importance to mariners? When come to meridian? Where Andromeda and Cassiopeia then? Perseus? Taurus, Auriga, Orion, Pegasus and Swan? What of other stars in Aries? Ancient method of dividing the Zodiac? Names of Bigns?
in the next 30° of the Zodiac, or those between 30° 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.
According to fable, this is the ram which bore the golden fleece, and carried Phryxus and his sister Helle through the air, when they fled to Colchis 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, Etes, 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 Egyptians, 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 endeavor 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 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 o. 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.
HISTORY.-Discovery in Egypt? Use made of the Zodiacs? What did they prove to be? How ascertained? Who most zealous in opposing revelation? Means employed?