Butler County Times Gazette
  • Looking Up: Valentines in the night sky

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  • There should be a valentine heart constellation. Lovers of one another sometimes do find mutual affection for the night sky, especially under a nice Moon. Friday is Valentine’s Day (you DID remember, right?). How appropriate it was that the moon was full!
    In 1927, Lew Brown, B.G. DeSylva and Ray Henderson penned the love song “The Moon Belongs to Everyone,” which reminds us that the best things in life are free. Frank Sinatra sang it.
    This is nice to know, especially in times of economic recession. Material things aren’t what is most important after all. It’s nice to know that the night sky is free to enjoy. It may not put food on the table but many agree the beautiful night sky adds richness to our lives. Of course you could set up a telescope on the corner and start charging for the view of the Moon! Better yet, let them see the moon for no cost. They will be amazed and grateful. It is interesting to hear the delightful response when someone has a first look at the moon’s craters, or the rings of Saturn.
    What in the sky tonight might remind us of love? At about 7 p.m. in mid-February, the constellation Perseus is almost overhead. If you face south and look straight up, see the brilliant yellow star, Capella. To your right, which is west, is the grouping known as Perseus, a mythological hero. The Greeks had quite a romantic tale to tell about Perseus and his lovely lady friend, Andromeda. She is represented by the next constellation to the right, best seen facing west at this time.
    The way they are usually pictured on the sky, Perseus seems to be ready to grab Andromeda by the foot. Looking on right nearby by in the northern sky, is Andromeda’s mom and chaperone, Queen Cassiopeia, easily traced in the sky like a letter “M” with five stars. Cassiopeia’s hubby, King Cepheus, dutifully rules next to Cassiopeia, just below Cassiopeia as seen at this hour and time of year. It As the stars shift east to west, Perseus is always trailing Andromeda, remembering the rule, “ladies first.” Cepheus, however, is ahead of his wife Cassiopeia, who is constantly chasing Cepheus in a circle around a spot next to the North Star.
    Is a diamond a girl’s best friend? If so, try Sirius, the most brilliant star of the night sky, which looks like a dazzling blue-white gem, to the lower left of Orion in the southeast sky in the early evening. In this case, the diamond is a jewel on a dog’s collar, constellation Canis Major the Big Dog, and he’s not about to give it up!
    No sign of cupid here, but it may be one of his arrows flying in the summer evening sky. Sagitta the Arrow is a small star group forever flying along the Milky Way. Marriage made in heaven? You may have to head south meet her (or him) at the altar - the constellation Ara, the Altar, is just below Scorpius the Scorpion (ill-placed) and only visible if you live at latitude +25º (such as Miami) or farther south.
    Page 2 of 2 - Don’t forget the candy - especially the heart-shaped boxes wrapped in clear, red cellophane. The cellophane is great for covering a flashlight, to protect your night vision outside under the stars- with your sweetie of course!
    Notes are welcome at news@neagle.com.
    Keep looking up!
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