Myths and le­gends ex­plored

Stars above have al­ways in­spired

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - JAMES BAR­CLAY If you want to book a stargaz­ing night at the ob­ser­va­tory, email [email protected]­pond.com, phone 0427 961 391 or visit the web­site, www.kin­garoy ob­ser­va­tory.com.

FOR thou­sands of cen­turies the night skies have be­wil­dered hu­man cu­rios­ity.

Dur­ing those early times, many looked up and won­dered, what are those dots in the night sky?

Are they the eyes of an­gels, devils or gods?

While many tribes and clans had their own be­liefs, none could un­der­stand what they were or how they got there, let alone why they formed pat­terns or shapes and why every three months those fa­mil­iar pat­terns would set in the west and new ones ap­pear in the east.

No one knew back then that the world was round nor that it was a planet that or­bits a star – the sun.

From these un­cer­tain­ties mythol­ogy was born, which was passed down from one gen­er­a­tion to the next, in­flam­ing ig­no­rance and su­per­sti­tion.

Astronomers now call these pat­terns of stars con­stel­la­tions and while there are 88 of them evenly spread over both hemi­spheres, in an­cient times every land had a dif­fer­ent name for the same thing.

South­ern night skies con­stel­la­tions

MARCH 1 – JUNE 1: Leo, Crater, Hy­dra, Corvus, Crux, Cen­tau­rus, Musca, Li­bra, Lu­pus, Norma, Apus and Tri­an­gu­lum Aus­trale.

JUNE 1 – SEPT 1: Scor­pio, Ser­pens, Ara, Corona Aus­trale, Scu­tum, Sagit­tar­ius, Te­le­scopium, Pavo, Aquila, Sagitta, Mi­cro­scopium, Capri­cor­nus, In­dus, Aquar­ius, Pis­cis Aus­tri­nus and Grus.

SEPT 1 – DEC 1: Pe­ga­sus, Tu­cana, Sculp­tor, Pisces, Phoenix, Ce­tus, Hy­drus, Aries, For­nax, Eri­danus, Horologium, Retic­u­lum, Tau­rus.

DEC 1 – MARCH 1: Orion, Le­pus, Mensa, Pic­tor, Do­rado, Columba, Ca­nis Ma­joris, Gem­ini, Mono­ceros, Pup­pis, Ca­nis Mi­nor, Volans, Can­cer, Ca­rina, Vela, Sex­tans, An­tila.

This makes 62 out of 88, which is why our skies have the most to of­fer astronomers.

The best time to stargaze is in win­ter when the skies are more sta­ble and clear of dust and clouds.

PHOTO: JAMES BAR­CLAY

IN­CRED­I­BLE SIGHT: Au­tumn and win­ter are the best times for stargaz­ing.

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