December 11, 2017

A Meteor Shower Rings in the New Year.

We love it when obscure defunct constellations work their way into modern usage. This week brings with it the first meteor shower of 2013 by way of the Quadrantids. And let’s get the most frequent question out of the way right now, one that we always get around the beginning of each year; where the heck did the name come from? Ah, for that little bit of trivia, we refer you to our handy post on obsolete constellations of yore. The Quadrantids derive their name from an obsolete constellation known as the Mural Quadrant or Quadrans Muralis. [Read more...]

Constellations of Yore.

Hunting Cerberus…

(From Johann Bode’s 1801 Uranographia, in the Public Domain).

Sure, you’re familiar with the constellations of Orion and Ursa Major. Or perhaps you even know the difference between a constellation and an asterism such as the “Teapot” or the “Sickle” of Leo, or maybe you can even successfully pronounce such tongue-twisting names as Vulpecula or Camelopardalis… But have you ever heard of Gallus the Rooster or  Polophylax the “Pole Keeper?” [Read more...]