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79. Alpha, otherwise called Arneb, and Beta form the N. W. end of the trapezium, and are about 3° apart. Gamma and Delta form the S. E. end, and are about 24° apart. The upper right-hand one, which is Arneb, is the brightest of the four, and is near the centre of the constellation. Four or five degrees S. of Rigel are four very minute stars, in the ears of the Hare.
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.
1. a LEPORIS (Arneb)—A distant DOUBLE STAR; R. A. 5h. 25m. 40s.; Dec. S. 17° 56' 05". A 8%, pale yellow; B 9%, grey.
2. B LEPORIS (Nihal)—A STAR with a distant telescopic companion; R. A. 5h. 21m. 23s.; Dec. S. 20° 58' 05". A 4, deep yellow; B 11, blue.
3. Y LEPORIS-A wide TRIPLE STAR in a barren field; R. A. 5h. 37m. 48s.; Dec. S. 22° 80' 02". A, light yellow; B 6%, pale green; C 13, dusky.
4. LEPORIS-A delicate DOUBLE STAR in the Hare's left ear; R. A. 5h. 04m. 50s.; Dec. S. 12° 03′ 09". A 4%, white; B 12, pale violet, with a reddish distant star nearly north. 5. K LEPORIS-A close DOUBLE STAR, at the root of the left ear; R. A. 5h. 5m. 51s.; Dec. 8. 13° 08. A 5, pale white; B 9, clear grey.
6. A bright STELLAR NEBULA, under the Hare's feet; R. A. 5h. 17m. 50s.; Dec. S. 24° 39′ 09". A fine object of a milky white tinge, and blazing towards the centre. Herschel describes it as "a beautiful cluster of stars, nearly 3' in diameter, of a globular form, and extremly rich." An imaginary line run from Betelguese before a Leporis, and over 6, will hit this object about 4° south-west of the latter.
COLUMBA (NOAH'S DOVE).-MAP III.
80. 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 24° 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 11° 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.
79. What other name has Alpha; and with Beta what does it form? What further description?
HISTORY.-Why was Lepus placed in the heavens?
TELESCOPIC OBJECTS.-Alpha? Beta? Gamma? Iota? Kappa? Nebula ?
80. Situation of Columba? Number and size of stars? The two brightest, and situation? How find Phaet? What figure does it help to form? With what other stars?
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,
ERIDANUS (THE RIVER PO).—MAP III.
81. 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 stream.
82. The Northern stream commences near Rigel, in the foot 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 toward 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 semi-circular 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 culminates 18 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 1° 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.
83. 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.-Origin of this constellation?
81. What said of Eridanus? stream? Gamma? Theemim?
82. Trace the Northern
83. Whole number of stars in Eridanus?
84. In the upper part of the Northern stream, near the feet of Taurus, may be seen a modern, but now discarded constellation, of which Captain Smyth says: "Abbé Hell (who also placed Herschel's Telescope among the celestials) has squeezed in his Harpa Georgii, to compliment a sovereign of those realms; having filched from Eridanus about thirty or forty stars, some of the 4th magnitude, for the purpose.
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 connection with the fable of Phaeton, who, being a son of Phoebus and Clymene, became a favorite of Venus, who intrusted him with the care of one of her temples. This favor 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,
Phoebus represented the dangers to which he would be exposed in vain. He undertook the aĕrial 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 were threatened with a universal confiagration 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, consumed with fire, was found by the nymphs of the place, who honored him with a decent burial, and inscribed this epitaph upon his tomb:
"Hic situs est Phaeton, currus auriga paterni:
His sisters mourned his unhappy end, and were changed by Jupiter into poplars.
"All the long night their mournful watch they keep,
It is said the tears which they shed turned to amber, with which the Phoenicians 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 Libya.
"At once from life and from the chariot driven,
84. What discarded constellation mentioned? Is it on the map? Remark of Capt. Smyth?
HISTORY.-Named after what? Modern name?
Fable of Phaeton?
"The breathless Phaeton, with flaming hair,
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.
1. B ERIDANI-A bright star with a distant telescopic companion, on the shin bone of Orion; R. A. 4h. 59m. 59s.; Dec. S. 5° 17' 9". A 3, topaz yellow; B 12, pale blue. This star is just above Rigel, in the direction of the Hyades.
2. Y ERIDANI-A star with a distant companion; R. A. 3h. 50m. 34s.; Dec. S. 13° 58'. A 2, yellow; B 10 pale grey.
3. A MILK WHITE NEBULA; Ř. A. 3h. 33m. 02s.; Dec. S. 19° 04' 8". and bright in the centre.
Pale, distinct, round,
4. A PLANETARY NEBULA; R. A. 4h. 06m. 50s.; Dec. S. 13° 09' 1". About 4% from y in the direction of Rigel. A splendid though not very conspicuous object, of a greyish white color. Map VIII., Fig. 34, represents it in its best aspects, highly magnified, with four telescopic stars in the field, two of which point exactly towards the nebula.
SCEPTRUM BRANDENBURGIUM (SCEPTRE OF BRANDENBURG).
85. This is a slender constellation, situated between the two streams of the River Po. It was constructed by Kirch, in 1688, and recognized by Bode a century afterwards; but is now generally discarded, though retained on the map. It is composed of four stars of the 3d, 4th and 5th magnitudes, running north and south; and is usually included in Eridanus.
AURIGA (THE CHARIOTEER).—MAP III.
86. The Charioteer, called also the Wagoner, is represented on the celestial map by the figure of a man in a reclining 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 overhead 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
TELESCOPIC OBJECTS.-Beta? Gamma? Nebula? Point out on the map.
85. Describe the Sceptre of Brandenburgh? Situation? When and by whom constituted? Is it recognized by astronomers? Number and magnitude of stars? is Auriga represented? Situation? When on the meridian?
January, and 1 hour and 40 minutes east of it on the 1st of January.
87. 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, 24° E. of Algol, and 28° 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 El 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, 7% E. of Capella, and culminates the next minute after Betelguese, 87% S. of it. Theta, in the right arm, 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 length 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 resembling 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, 48 W. of the solstitial colure.
"See next the Goatherd with his kids; he shines
And scarce a star with equal radiance beams
The Greeks give various accounts of this constellation; some supposed it to be Erichthonius, the fourth king of Athens, and son of Vulcan and Minerva, who awarded him a place among the constellations on 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
"Bold Erichthonius was the first who join'd
And o'er the dusty wheels presiding sat."-Dryden.
87. Number of stars visible? Magnitude and situation of Capella? How known? Menkalina? Delta compared with Theta? HISTORY.-The first supposition? Second? Third? Opinion of Jamieson?