- Special Sections
- Public Notices
August’s sky is full of wonder; however, not the wonder of seeing Mars the size of the full moon.
Sorry to say that to those prepared to go outside at the end of month hoping to enjoy this celestial wonder.
Can anyone be safe from the evil, “bad science monster,” restored to life, like a B movie zombie, which invades in-boxes of innocent e-mailers all over the world? Please save everyone and hit delete.
Mars is a far distance away during August and is only a small dot. However, it is extremely close to Saturn and Venus, therefore it offers a worthy sky view. That covers a small part of August’s sky. Are you ready for the rest of the sky?
The Greek term zodiac means circle of animals. It forms a circle of these around Earth. As we watch from Earth, the sun moves through the center of the zodiac on a line called the ecliptic. The constellations on this line are the zodiac constellations, and astrology’s premise uses the sun’s movement through these figures.
As the sun enters the sky of a constellation, this makes the birth sign for that time span. The first use for this system was a calendar and the figures were to remember the divisions. Although something is wrong, we have 13 true zodiacs. One is not an animal, and the sun is in one figure for only a week.
Scorpio is an easy group of stars to find. Here is how to find the J during this time of year. Go to the beach at dusk, and gaze out over the water. View the stars as they begin to appear in the sky. The letter J forms as the stars brighten.
Scorpio is the birth sign for a person born between Oct. 23 and Nov. 22. With the understanding from earlier, the sun then should move through Scorpio in October and November.
It does not; in fact, the sun is only in Scorpio for one week: Nov. 23-30. The Earth’s wobble called “precession” changes our view of the stars in a 27,000-year cycle. This is in part the answer for the sun missing time in Scorpio. The other reason, the Romans cut Scorpio’s claws right off shortening the figure, which took time from Scorpio but it did make room for a set of scales.
This declawing made a spot for Libra the scales.
Scorpio has the sun for only a week, which is in at the wrong time. In addition, a set of scales is in our circle of animals. Libra is the only inanimate object of the zodiac figures. What is the 13th zodiac?
I am glad the question surfaced even if I did the asking. The sun crosses the top of Scorpio, for just a week. It barely misses the head and the two new claws. Then the sun enters the 13th constellation that no one likes to speak of—Ophiuchus.
The sun is within its borders from Dec. 1-13. Ophiuchus is a 4,000-year-old constellation known as the snake bearer or ancient healer. He is the son of Apollo, great-grandfather to Hippocrates, and it is said the caduceus, the medical symbol that has a staff and two snakes, derives from this myth.
August as always is a perfect month to look skyward in wonderment. During Aug. 12-14 the Perseids, a meteor shower generated as the Earth passes through the trail left by the comet 109p Swift-Tuttle, flashes across the sky. Up to 60 in an hour may be visible.
Come to the Ingram planetarium to learn more and check www.ingramplanetarium.org for the sky maps this week to help locate the constellations.
Mark Jankowski is a senior technician at Ingram Planetarium. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 575-0033.