Image generated with Starry Night Pro 6.
We continue our presentation of CNY circumpolar constellations with a relative newcomer to the great list of 88 constellations (in Western Culture, anyway). Camelopardalis the Giraffe is lucky to be identified as a constellation at all, as neither the Greeks nor the Romans saw this part of the sky as interesting enough to, dare I say, stick their necks out and define the stars here as anything of importance. Its Western history dates to approximately 1612, when the famed Dutch astronomer and cartographer Petrus Plancius (who also provided us with Monoceros, another recent constellation in the Northern Hemisphere) grouped the stars with the name Camelopardalis which, loosely translated, breaks down into “camel” and “leopard,” the combinations of “long neck” and “spots” being a reasonable first approximation to the features of an animal most of Europe had likely never seen at the time. The Chinese and Indian astronomers, on the other hand, were far more meticulous in their use and definition of stars in the Night Sky and the brighter stars in Camelopardalis are all defined in one asterism or another. The positions are obviously the same, but the history and mythology of the stars in Camelopardalis are markedly different.
This is a reprint of two articles I wrote for the Syracuse Astronomical Society newsletter, the Astronomical Chronicle, for April and May of this year. The series of articles is designed to introduce members and visitors to our equipment (the equipment generally found at Darling Hill) to help them decide what piece of equipment might work best for them. And so…
“What should I get?”
This is the first article in a series that hopes to provide useful answers to a commonly asked question at Darling Hill Observatory. The plan is to introduce prospective purchasers to the broad range of equipment used by the SAS regulars, including pluses and minuses, benefits and hazards, complaints and complements. For some of us, we’ve had the same core equipment for years and know their subtleties backwards and forwards. For a few others, they always have a new purchase to show and a new tale to tell (I await the show-and-tell from this past weekend’s NEAF purchases). Hopefully, having the first-hand accounts of a variety of equipment will inform you a bit more about future purchases than the flowery descriptions found on manufacturer websites.
The Volkswagen New Beetle. You can get a full-sized drum set into these things (although a 24″ kick’s going to require a padded case), a fact I learned after I bought the car in 2002, as my old Pearl Prestige Session drums had, at the time, been stolen by an antiquities-dealing crack addict who was part of a police sting operation to catch a drug lord on Syracuse‘s West Side. One of my better band stories and proof that people on drugs are not in their right state of mind. Also handy for transporting computer clusters across state lines.
Top o’ the afternoon to ya, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. A fortuitous occurrence above the western skies (relative to my apartment) of Syracuse in the direction of Tipperary Hill (where, for those interested in local trivia, the traffic light has the green on top thanks to the indefatigable efforts of Irish youths in the 1920’s) brings to mind three questions about the most recent (and my first sub’ing) Grove Havener (who’s name, for those interested in local trivia, is taken from an Earth Science teacher at Jamesville-DeWitt) gig at Coleman’s Irish Pub on 6 March 2009:
(1) Will it go ’round in circles?
(2) Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?