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of the imagination may be extended into the constellations Taurus and Orion.
Mythological history.—Castor and Pollux were noted—the former for his skill in training horses, the latter for boxing. They were tenderly attached to each other, and were inseparable in all their adventures. They accompanied Jason on the Argonautic expedition. A storm having arisen on this voyage, Orpheus played on his wonderful lyre and prayed to the gods; whereupon the tempest was •stilled, and star-like flames shone upon the heads of the twinbrothers. Sailors, therefore, considered them as patron deities,* and the balls of electric flame seen on masts and shrouds, now called St. Elmo's fire, were named after them. Afterward, Castor was slain. Pollux being inconsolable, Jupiter offered to take him up to Olympus, or to let him share his immortality with his brother. Pollux preferred the latter, and so the brothers pass alternately one day under the earth, and the next in the Elysian Fields. Not only did sailors thus think them to watch over navigation, but they were believed to return, mounted on snow-white steeds and clad in rare armor, to take part in the hard-fought battle-fields of the Eomans.
"Back comes the chief In triumph,
•Acts, xxviii. 11.
Safe comes the ship to haven,
If once the great Twin Brethren
'Or ion is represented under the figure of a hunter assaulting Taurus. He has a sword in his belt, a club in his right hand, and the skin of a lion in his left. This is one of the most clearly defined and conspicuous constellations in the heavens.
Principal stars.—Four brilliant stars, in the form of a parallelogram, mark the outlines of Orion. Betelgeuse, a beautiful ruddy star of the first magnitude, is in the right shoulder; Bellatrix (7), of the second magnitude, is in the left shoulder; Eigel, of the first magnitude, is in the left foot; and Saiph (x), of the third magnitude, is in the right knee. Two small stars near X form with it a small triangle, which is itself the vertex of a larger triangle composed of \ y, and Betelgeuse. Near the centre of the parallelogram are three stars forming "the Belt of Orion," called also the "Bands of Orion" (Job, xxxviii. 31), Jacob's rod, but more commonly the "Ell and Yard." They received the last name because they form a line just 3° long, divided in equal parts by a star in the centre. These divisions are useful for measuring the distances of the stars. Eunning from the belt southward, is an irregular line of stars which marks the sword; and west of Bellatrix is a curved line denoting the lion's skin. South of Orion are four stars forming a beautiful figure styled the Hare.
Mylholofficcd History.—Orion was a famous hunter. Becoming enamored of Merope, lie desired to marry her. CEnopion, her father, opposing the choice, took a favorable opportunity and put out the eyes of the unwelcome suitor. The blinded hero followed the sound of a Cyclop's hammer until he came to Vulcan's forge. He, taking pity, instructed Kedalion to conduct him to the abode of the sun. Placing his guide on his shoulder, Orion proceeded to the east, and at a favorable place
"Climbing np a narrow gorge, Fixed his blank eyes upon the Ban."
The healing beams restored him to sight. As a punishment for having profanely boasted that he was able to conquer any animal the earth could produce, he was bitten in the heel by a scorpion. Afterward, Diana placed him among the stars; where SiRiua and Procyon, his dogs, follow him, the Pleiades fly before him, and far remote is the Scorpion, by whose bite he perished.
Canis Major and Canis Minor contain each a single star of the first magnitude, Sirius and Procyon. These two, with Betelgeuse, Phaet in the Dove, and Naos in the Ship, form a huge figure known as the Egyptian X. Sirius, the dog-star, is the most brilliant star in the heavens. It travels at the rate of 840 miles per minute. Twenty-two years are required for its light to reach the earth; its distance being estimated at 1,375,000 times that of the sun from us. If its intrinsic brilliancy be the same as that of our sun, its diameter at that distance must be fifteen times as great, or 12,000,000 miles. Probably these estimates fall far below the reality of this magnificent orb.
.Leo is represented as a rampant lion. It is one of the most beautiful constellations in the zodiac.
The principal stars are arranged in the form of a sickle. Eegulus, in the handle, is a brilliant star of the first magnitude. It is one of the stars from which longitude is reckoned. It is almost exactly in the ecliptic. Zosma (5) lies in the back of the lion, £ in the thigh, and Denebola, a star of the second magnitude, in the brush of the tail.
Cancer includes the stars which lie irregularly scattered between Gemini, Head of Hydra, Procyon, and Leo. In the midst of these is a luminous spot, called Presepe or the Beehive, which an ordinary glass will resolve into stars.
Virgo is represented as a beautiful maiden with folded wings, bearing in her left hand an ear of corn.
The principal star is Spica Virginis, in the ear of corn. It is of the first magnitude, and is used for determining longitude at sea. Denebola, Cor Caroli, (a), Arcturus (Map No. 5), and Spica form a figure about 50° in length from north to south, called the Diamond of Virgo. The other stars may be easily traced by means of the map.
Mythological History.—Virgo was the goddess Astraea. According to the poets, the early history of man was the golden age. It was a time of innocence and truth. The gods dwelt among men, and perpetual Spring delighted the earth. Next came the silver age, less tranquil and serene, but still the. gods lingered and happiness prevailed. Then followed the brazen and iron ages, when wickedness reigned supreme. The earth was wet with slaughter The gods left the abodes of men one by one, Astrtea alone remaining; until finally she too, last of all the immortals, bade the earth farewell. Jupiter thereupon placed her among the constellations.