Constellations of the star sky

Not all constellations can be found at once in the sky as many of them consist of weak stars, and

Constellations of the star sky


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"Constellations of the star sky"


In dark, moonless and cloudless night in the sky the set of stars is visible. It seems, difficultly to understand this majestic picture of the star sky about which our great compatriot M. V. Lomonosov (1711-1765) with inspiration wrote:


"The chasm of stars has opened is full,

To stars of number is not present, a chasm - a bottom ".


Even more difficultly the problem is represented to count all visible stars in the sky. But difficult at first sight, it becomes quite easy if to apply correct ways of its decision. These ways were created not at once, and decades and centuries, and the first of them leave the roots in an extreme antiquity. At the beginning of a human society when for the first time there was a primitive manufacture, already it was necessary for nomad tribes to be guided at transitions from a place of a pas a place to find a way to former places of parking. At higher step of development of a human society, at agriculture occurrence, there was a necessity to conduct, at least and rough, the account of time for regulation of agricultural works.

What exit saw from the created position the ancient people which did not have at the order even the bare rudiments modern us of sciences? It is unique that was always before them, and is more true, over them, is a star sky on which the ancient people began gradually to learn to be guided by districts and to keep count of time. Practical necessity of studying of the star sky has led to origin of the science which have received subsequently in the Ancient Greece the name of astronomy, an event from two Greek words: астрон- a star and номос - the law.

But the name at all does not serve as the proof of origin and development of this science only in the Ancient Greece. The astronomy has arisen and independently degree of its development, naturally developed literally at all people, but, was in direct dependence on a level of development of productive forces and culture of the people.

If someone made fascinating travel from Moscow to Yaroslavl on the Yaroslavl highway, that should pay attention of a pas rather a small number of turns on all its extent. The highway is almost rectilinear, and its turns are connected only with detour of ravines, marshy places or too abrupt hills. And after all the Yaroslavl highway is laid basically on the old road connecting Moscow with Yaroslavl.

Both cities - almost coevals. Moscow is mentioned in annals since 1147 though, judging by last archeological excavations in the Moscow Kremlin, it as settlement existed already in second half Х century Yaroslavl based in 1010 By the same time occurrence of the traveller of a path between two cities concerns also. What way possible to pave in those days surprisingly direct shortest way between two cities removed from each other? Yes only same to what not less direct road between Moscow and Vladimir - orientation on stars has been laid; other ways of orientation in those days was not.

But how it is possible to be guided on stars if them the great variety is visible to a pas the sky? It would Seem, easily to get confused in this abundance of stars. Here for this purpose also it was necessary to group, first of all, bright stars (which in the sky not so already much) in the figures well remembered by the contours. Such star figures - combinations of stars, or constellations - have been allocated, and later to them have carried also weaker stars located around constellations. It is quite natural that the various people created the imagination different constellations and if it is casual contours of constellations and coincided, they were called differently. As sources of names of constellations myths about gods, legends on legendary heroes and the events connected with them, various animals and, at last, the instruments of production used by the people in an everyday life, as a rule, served.

So, known group of seven bright stars, reminding a ladle outline, ancient Greeks named.

The Big Dipper. If to this group of stars to attach the weak stars located near to a ladle at sufficient imagination it is possible to spend borders of this constellation so that they will remind outlines of any big animal (fig.1)


Fig.1. Constellations of the Big and Small She-bear.


The Greek myth tells that nymph Kallisto has been transformed by jealous spouse Zevsa the Hero into a she-bear who was badgered on hunting by dogs by its own son Arkad (Volopas). Zevs has given Kallisto immortality, having placed it in the sky in the form of constellation of the Big Dipper. Near to the Big Dipper its persecutors - Volopas and Hounds Dogs (fig.2) are located also, but the constellation of Hounds of Dogs has appeared in the sky only in XVII century when the Ancient Greek myth has been added by companions of the hunter. In the Ancient Greece the constellation of the Big Dipper was called also as the Chariot what the Homere in "Odysseus" mentions.


Fig.2. Constellations of the Big Dipper, Volopasa and Hounds of Dogs.

In Ancient Russia the same constellation had different names - the Cart, the Chariot, the Pan, the Ladle; the people occupying territory of Ukraine, named its Cart; in Zavolzhe it was called the Big Ladle, and in Siberia - the Elk. And till now in some areas of our country these names have remained.

By analogy other group of seven, but weaker stars located near to the Big Dipper and also reminding outline of a ladle, ancient Greeks named constellation of the Small She-bear. The same group of stars has been named by Siberians the Small Ladle, and the people occupying coast Ledovitogo of ocean, saw in it a polar bear with the head lifted up upwards on which to a nose North star located at the very end of the handle of a ladle (fig.3 flaunted).


Fig.3. Constellation of the Small She-bear in the form of a polar bear.


The name of these two constellations at the people occupying territory of the present Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic is rather original. Observing the star sky, they, as well as other people, have paid attention to an immovability of North star which invariably occupies at any time the same position over horizon. It is quite natural that these people, the basic which source of existence were herds of horses, named North star "an iron nail" ("Temir-Kazyk") hammered into the sky, and in other stars of the Small She-bear saw adhered to this nail "the lasso which has been put on a neck of the Horse (constellation of the Big Dipper). Within days the Horse ran all over the way around"nail" (fig.4). Thus, ancient Kazakhs united constellations of the Big and Small She-bear in one.

Fig.4. The constellations of the Big and Small She-bear united in constellation of the Horse.


If an average star of a tail of the Big Dipper mentally to connect a straight line to North star and to prolong this line further we will see constellation of Kassiopei which outline reminds the turned and a little stretched letter "M" (or Latin "W"). This constellation ancient Greeks has been named in honour of mythical tsarina Kassiopei: in outlines of this constellation they saw a throne with the tsarina sitting on it (fig.5). The Belarus people saw in this constellation of two people mowing a grass (fig.6).


Fig.5. Constellation of Kassionei in representation of ancient Greeks.

Fig.6. Constellation of Kassiopei in representation of Byelorussians.


Winter evenings over a horizon South side pack up the most effective constellation of the sky - constellation of Orion, desert by the seven bright stars from which the arrangement of four reminds the huge letter X, and three other, extended abreast, cross out this letter in the middle. To the right of the top bright stars, and also more to the left and above them two arches from the weak stars, turned by concavity to bright stars are visible. Ancient Greeks named this constellation a name of a mythical giant, the hunter of Orion (fig.7), and represented its covered board from a lion's skin, (the right arch of weak stars) and raising a cudgel (the left top arch of weak stars), on the Bull (Taurus) running to it on the right. Three average bright stars represented the hunting belt to which the sword - a number of the weak stars located from top to bottom from a belt is hung up. The modern astronomy too often uses these terms - a belt and a sword of Orion.


Fig.7. Constellations of Orion and a Taurus in representation of ancient Greeks.

In III century to pashas of an era the Greek (Alexandria) astronomers have reduced names of constellations in uniform system which was borrowed subsequently by the European science and has kept it up to now, in particular names of constellations of northern hemisphere of the sky. In the southern hemisphere which studying by Europeans has begun, in essence, only in XVIII and XIX centuries, constellation have received more modern names: the Telescope, Hours, the Pump and others.

Now by constellations mean not allocated groups of stars, and sites of the star sky so all stars (both bright, and weak) are ranked as constellations. Modern borders and names of constellations are confirmed in 1922 at I congress of the International astronomical union (MAC). All sky is divided into 88 constellations from which 31 is in northern heavenly hemisphere, and 48 - in southern. The others 9 constellations (Fishes, the Whale, Orion, the Unicorn, the Sextant, the Maiden, the Snake, Zmeenosets and the Eagle) are loc

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