Ara, A Southern Delight

24th Jun 2017

Ara 1Ara may be small and it may not compete well with its magnificent neighbours, Scorpius and Sagittarius, when it comes to objects big and bright and abundant… but it really is an astronomer’s delight, for it offers something special for everyone regardless of your observing preferences.

 

The story written across the sky…

For those fascinated by the stories written across the sky (surely one of mankind’s oldest art forms), Ara represents a very important item in Hellenic mythology:

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Barnard’s Star & Poniatowski’s Bull

21st Jun 2017

Taurus P asterismClose to beta and gamma Ophiuchi lies my favourite asterism – the obsolete constellation, Taurus Poniatowski (Poniatowski’s Bull).

It’s a striking sight in a dark night sky – the V-shaped head of the little bull is outlined by the stars 66 Ophiuchi (mag 4.6), 67 (mag 4.0), 68 (mag 4.4) and 70 (mag 4.0), and fainter stars extend the V further north.

Naked eye, it really does resemble the real Taurus. And the little horned beast is a

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Apus, Beautiful Southern Bird

19th Jun 2017

7830727756_af41bf70a9_oThere can be few places more fabulous for bird watching than the Kalahari – by day you lose yourself in an indescribably lovely world of colourful feathers and beautiful sounds… and by night in an indescribably lovely sky of beautiful stars, among which are those that sketch out the five southern birds: a toucan; a crane, a firebird, a peacock, and a bird of paradise. Unutterably exotic birds, it is not hard to see why Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon

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