Star­walks: The Archer

Catron Courier - - Front Page - By Thea Mar­shall

The month of Oc­to­ber will bring a lovely show of the plan­ets Saturn, Mer­cury, Venus, Moon and Mars on Oc­to­ber 8. The zo­di­a­cal con­stel­la­tions of Aquarius and Pisces are rather dim, with the bright­est star now on the eastern hori­zon the red­dish star Fo­ma­l­haut, the Mouth of the Fish in Pisces Aus­tralis, low to the SE at sun­set. In 3000 BCE it was one of the Per­sian Royal Stars and marked the win­ter sol­stice and later one of three stars of Dante’s Tres Fa­celle of ‘Pur­ga­to­rio.’ To the north­east, ap­pear­ing like a tower, the bright stars of Perseus the Hero are al­ready vis­i­ble on the hori­zon, with Mir­fak, the bright­est in the mid­dle of three. Slightly to the right of these, the eclips­ing bi­nary Al­gol, the blink­ing eye of the De­mon, the head of Me­dusa, will rise at sun­set. When this star is over­head at 3:18 AM, the planet Mars will rise on the eastern hori­zon close to Regulus, another Royal Star in the Lion which marked the same era’s summer sol­stice. How­ever, the bright­est show will be Saturn joined with Mer­cury on the western hori­zon, close to the two stars of the Bal­ance, while the cres­cent Moon will join with Venus and Antares to form a tri­an­gle at 7:00 PM. At 8:20 to the north­west, the bright star Capella will rise to the left of Perseus, fol­lowed by the fuzzy white cloud of the Pleiades at 8:38, herald­ing the re­turn of Taurus and Orion.

A cur­rent res­i­dent in Pie Town, Thea Mar­shall has lived in NM for 34 years, and en­joys writ­ing, her horse, and the stars.

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