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Mythological History.—Orion was a famous hunter. Becoming enamored of Merope, he 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 bis blank eyes opon the eon."
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 SnutTS 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 Prdcyon. 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 bight 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. Itegulus, 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 (S) lies in the back of the lion, ( in
the thigh, and Denebola, a star of the second magnitude, in the brash of the tail.
Cancer includes the stars which lie irregularlj 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 slaughtei The gods left the abodes of men one by one, Astrroa alone remaining; until finally she too, last of all the immortals, bade the earth farewell. Jupiter thereupon placed her among the constellations.
Hydra is a long straggling serpent having its head near Procyon and extending its tail beyond Virgo, a total distance of more than 100°.
The principal star is Cor Hydro, of the second magnitude. It is a lone star, and may be easily found by a line drawn from y Leonis through Eegulus, and continued about 23°. The head is marked by a rhomboidal figure of four stars of the fourth magnitude lying near Procyon. Several delicate triangles may be formed of them and other small stars lying near. The Crater or Cup is a beautiful and very striking semicircle of six stars of the fourth magnitude directly south of 6 Leonis. Corvus, the raven, lies 15° east of the Cup. e Corvi is in the equinoctial colure.
Mythological history.—Hydra was a fearful serpent which in ancient times infested the lake Lerna. Its destruction constituted one of the twelve labors of Hercules. The Crow was formerly white, it is said, but was changed to its raven tint on account of its proneness to tale-bearing.
Cor Caroli (<*) is marked by a line passing from Benetnasch (i) through Berenice's Hair to Denobola
Berenice's Hair is a beautiful cluster midway between Cor Caroli and Denebola. Near by is a single bright star of the fourth magnitude.
Mythological history.—Berenice was the wife of Ptolemy. Her husband going upon a dangerous expedition, she promised to consecrate her beautiful tresses to Venus if he should return in safety. Soon after the fulfilment of this Tow the hair disappeared from the temple where it had been deposited Berenice being much disquieted at this loss, Conon, the astronomer, announced that the locks had been transferred to the heavens. In proof of which, he pointed out this cluster of hitherto unnamed stara All parties were satisfied with this happy termination of the difficulty.
(Map No. 6)—Fig. TC.
Bootes, the bear-driver, is represented as a huntsman grasping a club in his right hand, while in his left he holds by the leash his two greyhounds, with which he is pursuing the Great Bear continually around the north pole.
Principal stars.—Arcturus,* a magnificent star
* Job, ix. 8.