For northern hemisphere observers, here's a challenge. See if you can spot one of the southern birds among the constellations. Continue reading →
¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending November 22, 2014
For northern hemisphere observers, here’s a challenge. See if you can spot one of the southern birds among the constellations. Depending on how far north you are, you may not see all of it. But if your south horizon is clear, you might spot it in the early evening.
Krane Grus is the name given to a constellation created in the late 16th century when some astronomers felt the southern star charts were too empty. Krane is Dutch. Grus is Latin. Both words describe a bird called a crane. In the 17th century, some sky watchers thought they saw a different bird there. They tried to popularize the name Phoenicopteros, which means flamingo. It didn’t fly. Pardon the expression. Eventually, the name was just Grus.
The only named Star in Grus is Al Nair. That’s Arabic for “the bright one”. A longer form of its name from long ago would have told us it is the bright one in the fish’s tail. That’s an odd name ...