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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.

01/16/2018 – Ephemeris – More thoughts about Orion and the Wintermaker

January 16, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 16th. The Sun will rise at 8:15. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 13 minutes, setting at 5:29. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

We come back to the central constellation of the winter sky Orion the hunter, now in the southeast at 9 p.m. with his three stars of his belt in a straight line, with his upper shoulder stars above and knees below. In one Greek story he was killed by the sting of a scorpion so the gods made sure the rising of the constellation Scorpius would chase him out of the sky to the west. To the Greeks he was a hapless hero. Orion is mentioned in the Bible in the book of Job. The name for Orion in Hebrew is Kesil, meaning “Fool”. To the native peoples around the Great Lakes, the stars here are those of the Wintermaker, who stretches his arms from Aldebaran in Taurus to Procyon in Canis Minor. When he is in the evening sky it is indeed winter.

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

Addendum

As the scorpion approaches Orion makes a hasty exit

When the scorpion (Scorpius) crawls over the southeastern horizon, Orion takes a powder to the west. This is about 5 a.m. in mid January. Created using Stellarium.

Orion-Wintermaker finder animation

Orion-Wintermaker finder animation for 9 p.m., January 16. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.