Constellations

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Being nocturnal has it’s perks for me. I love the night sky. The moon and stars are beautiful and I like how starkly impersonal they are. I’ve heard the starry sky described as “unfeeling” and “aloof” but these all have negatvie connotations in my mind. Stars simply are. To me, they are a reminder of a universe much grander than me, and a God who loves insignificant me enough to provide a grand universe to explore. Since middle school I’ve loved constellations. Orion is my favorite, he’s the easiest one for me to pluck out of the sky regardless of season, and he actually looks somewhat like a hunter (the whole shoulders, knees, swordbelt…much better than Ursa Minor which looks nothing like a bear).

Well I’ve slowly expanded my constellation knowledge since my middle school years and I can now quickly locate pleiades, taurus, and casseopeia, and sometimes gemini, leo, and scorpio. But one frustrating constellation has always been Ursa Major…aka, the Big Dipper. Technically, the Big Dipper part is only half of the actual constellation Ursa Major, but I assumed if I could locate the Big Dipper it would literally just be “connecting the dots” to fill in the rest of Ursa Major.
My internet search compounded my irritation because all the sites kept repeating “one of the easiest constellations to find” “Often taught to young children” “Boyscouts learn the Big and Little Dipper early in order to locate the North Star…” Well it’s not so gosh darn easy to find! It wasn’t until I hit on a website (and I apologize, I don’t have the link to it) that said the Big Dipper and Casseopeia revolve around the North Star and the Big Dipper appears on it’s tail that I finally found the elusive constellation.

Big Dipper is kinda upside down dontchya think? FYI this was one of the only pictures I could find that was close to how the Big Dipper appears every time I’ve managed to locate it. I have YET to see it with the dipper bowl facing up, which is how all the other websites and images present it. Maybe it’s just the wrong season, or wrong time at night when I catch a glimpse. ( I wonder how many boy scout troops host star gazing at 2am when it’s 30 degrees outside).

Now every time I get out of the ambulance I throw a quick glance heavenward to see what I can see. I literally can only take at the most five seconds, and I’m usually walking as I look (dangerous, I know) but so far I’ve managed to locate the Big Dipper reliably 3 times. Sometimes I can’t see it because of the city lights or tree line, but with Orion easily visable in the South, I know when I spin 180 degrees that the Big Dipper should be there.

Naturally, after I start consistently finding the Big Dipper I’ll start working on the Little Dipper, and then it’s back to nailing down the horoscope signs. One of these days I’m gonna invest in a telescope…

Anybody else have any favorite constellations?


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3 responses »

  1. Sorry, I gotta ask: third sentence, was "star"kly intentional? If so, it appears that gene is getting stronger. If not, you should get the gene checked – it's getting stronger 🙂

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  2. Woohoo for nominations! I've never been nominated before 🙂 Guess I'll have to brush up on posting more consistently!And, no, it was not intentional. I think YOUR gene is getting stronger, I don't think most people would've noticed. Including me. That puts me firmly in the most-people-which-do-not-have-the-gene category. In any case, I'll ask my doctor to check on it with my next blood panel. I have yet to wear socks with sandals…

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