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09/08/2020 – Ephemeris – The Anishinaabe folk saw a moose where we see Pegasus

September 8, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, September 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 8:05, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:15. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:14 this evening.

Yesterday I talked a bit about the constellation of Pegasus the flying horse ascendant in the east these September evenings. The Anishinaabe peoples of our area had no horses until after the Europeans arrived, but they did imagine a large four legged mammal here, the Mooz or Moose, spelled M-o-o-z and pronounced something like Moonz*. The Moose is upright, or will be when he is in the south. In the evening now he is in the east, his body is a large square of stars we call the Great Square of Pegasus standing on one corner. From the top star extend his neck and head. His great antlers cover the official constellation of Lacerta the lizard made of a zigzag of unremarkable faint stars. Unlike Pegasus the whole moose made it into the sky.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Mooz finder animation

Mooz finder animation displaying both Western Pegasus and Lacerta constellations and Anishinaabe Mooz constellation for 10 pm in early September. Credit Stellarium (both star lore images are embedded in Stellarium). The Anishinaabe image is from Ojibwe Giizhig Anung Masinaaigan – Ojibiwe Sky Star Map created by A. Lee, W. Wilson, and C. Gawboy.

*Information on Mooz and its pronunciation can be found in the Ojibwe Peoples Dictionary at https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu/main-entry/mooz-na. The language of the Ojibwe, Ojibwemowin is another name for Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinaabe peoples.

07/13/2020 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Ajijaak, the crane

July 13, 2020 1 comment

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, July 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 9:26, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:11. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:55 tomorrow morning.

Friday I looked at the constellation of Cygnus the swan and the informal constellation or asterism made from most of its stars the Northern Cross. Cygnus is the official International Astronomical Union constellation name. However the indigenous Anishinaabe people of our area had another bird in mind when seeing these stars, which are now fairly high in the east in the evening: Ajijaak, (pronounced a-ji-jock) a Sand Hill crane. While the swan is flying, neck outstretched to the south through the Milky Way, the crane is flying northward with its long legs trailing behind. The bright star Deneb is at his head. Where I live I see more cranes than swans these days and hear their creaking-door-like calls, and see a pair from time to time in a field south of where I live.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Swan and the Crane constellations

The IAU Cygnus the swan and the Anishinaabe Ajijaak the crane constellations demonstrated via an animated GIF image. Note the bright star of the Summer Triangle. Click on the Image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium (both star lore images are embedded in Stellarium). The Anishinaabe image is from Ojibwe Giizhig Anung Masinaaigan – Ojibiwe Sky Star Map created by A. Lee, W. Wilson, and C. Gawboy.

 

06/16/2020 – Ephemeris – One circlet of stars, two constellations: old world and new world

June 16, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:30, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:52 tomorrow morning.

High in the south-southeast at 11 this evening can be seen a small nearly circular constellation of Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. It is just below Boötes, the kite shaped constellation off the handle of the Big Dipper. According to Greek myth the crown was given by the gods to the princess Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete. The crown is more like a tiara with the bright star Alphecca at the front. To the Anishinaabe people, who are natives of our region it is the Sweat Lodge. Part of what we call Hercules next to it is the Exhausted Bather, who is lying on the ground after the ceremony. The seven stones that are heated for the Sweat Lodge are the Pleiades, now too close to the Sun to be seen.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Corona Borealis and Sweat Lodge

Animated Corona Borealis/Sweat Lodge Finder Chart looking to the south-southeast at 11 p.m. June 16th. Click on the image to enlarge Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

04/10/2010 – Ephemeris – The constellations of Ursa Major and Ojiig

April 10, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Good Friday, Friday, April 10th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 15 minutes, setting at 8:22, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:04. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 11:54 this evening.

The constellation of Ursa Major, or great bear was well-known to the ancient Greeks and Native Americans. Today, however, many of us can recognize only part of it as the Big Dipper. The whole bear can be easily seen only in a dark sky, at 10 p.m. it’s high in the northeast with feet to the south. The stars in front of the bowl are the front part of his body and head. The bowl of the Big Dipper is his rump, and the handle his long tail. The Native Americans, saw those three stars as three hunters following the bear. The tribes of the Great Lakes region saw it as the Fisher or Ojiig , who brought summer to the Earth. These stars here do make a convincing bear, except for the tail, when seen on a dark night. The weasel-like Fisher fits the stars completely.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Great Bear and the Fisher

The Big Dipper/Great Bear/Fisher as seen by western and Anishinaabe people. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The constellation art is part of the latest versions of Stellarium. Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) constellation art by Annette S Lee and William Wilson from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.

Here’s the story of how the Fisher brought summer to the Earth:  https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/the-story-of-the-fisher-star/

03/26/2020 – Ephemeris – A spring warning about thin ice in the sky

March 26, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 26th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 8:03, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:31. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 10:22 this evening.

The Anishinaabe peoples of the Great Lakes Region, which includes the Ottawa, Chippewa and Ojibwe Indians have one constellation of winter. It is The Winter Maker which uses many of Orion’s stars and whose arms stretch from Aldebaran in Taurus the bull to Procyon the Little Dog Star, embracing the whole of the winter sky. Now that spring is here he is sinking into the west. The first constellation of spring is Curly Tail, or the Great Underwater Panther. Which uses the stars of Leo the lion’s backward question mark as its tail and the small knot of stars that are the head of Hydra the water snake below Cancer the crab as its head. The warning: Keep off the thinning ice or break through and be snatched by the panther that lives below.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Great Underwater Panther animation_9 pm late March

Great Underwater Panther finder animation relating western to Anishinaabe constellations for 9 p.m. in late March. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

03/16/2020 – Ephemeris – The Fisher signals maple sugaring season

March 16, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, March 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 7:50, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:50. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 4:21 tomorrow morning.

As the weather warms up with days above freezing and nights below freezing its time to tap maple trees for their sweet sap. The Anishinaabe native people of this area had a legend that a magical animal called the Fisher, who brought summer to the Earth, signals this season by rising high in the northeast. The Fisher or Ojiig is seen in the stars where the official constellation of Ursa Major, the great bear and the popular asterism the Big Dipper is. The Fisher’s claim to immortality is that he and some of his animal friends were able to break through the dome of the sky to release the warm air from above to heat the Earth. For his trouble he was killed, but the Great Spirit placed him in the sky where we see him today.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Fisher rising

Finding the Big Dipper and the Fisher around 9 p.m. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

 

02/18/2020 – Ephemeris – Orion in three cultures

February 18, 2020 Comments off

Feb 18. This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 18th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 6:14, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:37. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 5:24 tomorrow morning.

We observe the constellation of Orion in the south at 9 p.m. and think of the hapless Greek hero. To the Hebrews it was Kesil, the fool who built the tower of Babel hoping to reach heaven. To the Anishinaabe native peoples of this place it is the Wintermaker whose rising in the evening announces the coming of winter. Where Orion’s arms carry a lion skin shield and a club, the Wintermaker’s arms are exaggerated and extend from Aldebaran in Taurus to Procyon in Canis Minor, embracing just about all of the winter sky. Two other Anishinaabe constellations are entering the skies at this time in the east and northeast, to announce the coming of spring. One the pleasures and the other the dangers.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Orion

Orion as he is seen tonight at 9 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

Wintermaker

The Wintermaker stretches his arms wide to embrace the winter stars. Created using Stellarium. Wintermaker figure from Ojibwe Sky Star Map by A. Lee, W. Wilson, C. Gawboy.  Stellarium contains the constellation art from many cultures.

10/15/2019 – Ephemeris – The celestial Fisher paints the fall colors

October 15, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours even, setting at 6:58, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:59. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 8:14 this evening.

The tree leaves are turning to reds and yellows as we advance into autumn. The native Anishinaabe peoples, whose homeland we share, have a story about how that came to be. Of how a magical weasel-like creature called the Fisher or in the native language, Ojiig, brought summer to the Earth from Skyland. For his trouble he was shot with an arrow in his only vulnerable spot, the tip of his tail. As he fell to Earth the Great Spirit, Manitou caught him and placed him in the sky where we see the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and the Big Dipper. Every autumn late at night we see his tail, the handle of the dipper, swoop down to the ground where his tail paints the leaves with his blood.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Fisher brushing his tail along the horizon

An animation of Fisher brushing his tail along the horizon on autumn nights. Created using Stellarium.

The constellation art is part of the latest versions of Stellarium. Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) constellation art by Annette S Lee and William Wilson from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.

See the version of the story I learned:  The story of the Fisher Star.

There are other variations of the story, and other adventures of the Fisher.  Perform an Internet search for: Fisher or Fisher Star or Ojiig.

07/30/2019 – Ephemeris – Finding the Little Dipper

July 30, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 30th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 44 minutes, setting at 9:11, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:27. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 5:37 tomorrow morning.

11 p.m. is the best time now to spot the Little Dipper. It is difficult to spot, being much smaller and dimmer than the Big Dipper. However it is the Big Dipper that points to it, by the two stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper to point to the North Star, Polaris, the star that doesn’t appear to move. That is the tip of the handle of the Little Dipper. The handle is seen in a curve of the stars upwards and a bit to the left to a small box of stars that is its bowl. The two brighter stars at the front of the bowl are called the Guard Stars because they guard the pole. The Little Dipper is not an official constellation, but is Ursa Minor the lesser bear. To the Anishinaabe native peoples of this area it represents a loon.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Little Dipper finder animation

Little Dipper finder animation. The Little Dipper is also Ursa Minor and the Loon. Polaris is the Pole Star and North Star. The Guard Stars are Kochab and Pherkad. Except for the named stars, the Little Dipper stars are quite faint and require moonless skies away from the city to spot. Chick on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The loon image constellation art is part of the latest versions of Stellarium. Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) constellation art by Annette S Lee and William Wilson from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide, by A. Lee, W Wilson, C Gawboy, J. Tibbetts.  ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.

05/23/2019 – Ephemeris – A look at the constellation of Corona Borealis

May 23, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 23rd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 9:12, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:06. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:37 tomorrow morning.

High in the east-southeast at 11 this evening can be seen a small nearly circular constellation of Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. It is just below Boötes, the kite shaped constellation off the handle of the Big Dipper. According to Greek myth the crown was given by the gods to the princess Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete. The crown is more like a tiara with the bright star Alphecca at the front. To the Anishinaabe people, who are natives of our region it is the Sweat Lodge. Part of what we call Hercules next to it is the Exhausted Bather, who is lying on the ground after the ceremony. The seven stones that are heated for the Sweat Lodge are the Pleiades, now too close to the Sun to be seen.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Corona Borealis and Sweat Lodge

Animated Corona Borealis Finder Chart looking to the east-southeast at 11 p.m. May 23rd Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.