Friday, December 12, 2008

How Big Daddy Atlas Protected His Baby Girls

(Note: For your convenience, and apologies to Starry Night, in the picture above, I have exaggerated the main stellar objects mentioned in this post.)

All right! I lied. Mea culpa! In my The Pleiades Have Risen Post, I said that in my very next astronomy post I would tell you how Big Daddy Atlas protected the virtue of his precious, baby girls, the Pleiades, from the (presumably unwanted) attentions of Orion, the hunter. I simply had forgotten about the conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon. I hope that you enjoyed the show.

As frequently happens after winter storm fronts pass, tonight, or rather, this morning the viewing was incredible, in spite of the full Moon. Most of the leaves are gone after the storm, and the moonlight and incredibly clear air made everything appear as if they were painted in blue and silver. I wouldn’t have seen all of this beauty except that MaxieCat chose 3 AM to demand to be let into the house. The Supreme Poodle Pasha Zackery exploded from under the covers barking his fool head off. As far as he is concerned, what his harem kitty wants, his harem kitty gets... except of course, for my lap, which she takes anyway. So out into the cold night we went to protect MaxieCat from who only knows what. If it weren’t for these wee beasties, I wonder how many stars I would ever see. There overhead, already receding into the West, was Orion. I immediately came back in from the cold to tell you all about it. :-)

Early on clear December evenings, you can see Orion rising in the East. For the rest of the winter, it dominates the sky with more bright stars, close together, than can be seen anywhere else, at any other time of the year. Orion is, by far, my favorite constellation. He’s also the randy guy Big Daddy Atlas was so worried about protecting his daughters from.

The Pleiades are now high in the sky. From the Pleiades, look straight down toward the eastern horizon. On the way, you’ll see a bright reddish star. That’s Aldebaran. It’s the angry eye of the constellation, Taurus. Taurus was the pet bull of Atlas, who held up the sky. The bull was very fierce, very big, and Big Daddy Atlas set him to guard his baby girls from the lusty Orion.
Orion is the next bright grouping of stars below Aldebaran, and is easily recognizable by the three bright stars in a row. Those three stars are Orion’s belt, recently of MEN IN BLACK fame. Orion is always trying to get to the Pleiades, however is blocked by the great bull, Taurus. For all of eternity, Orion backs Taurus across the sky; yet, guarded by their daddy’s pet bull, the Pleiades’ virtue remains everlastingly, ad nauseam, intact. The poor dears!

You have to wonder about a man who is so reluctant to have grandchildren that he would resort to such extremes. You have to wonder about a man that would even want seven wives, or more likely, just a fun night on the town. You also have to wonder about seven women who would put up with two such men. I think that those ancient Greeks could have benefited from a little therapy.

My next Astronomy Post will be about the Christmas Star.

Happy viewing,
Frances Drake

Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

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