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Sky Tonight—April 27, Leo loses his tail. We gain a constellation.
Posted By Editor On April 27, 2011 @ 11:12 am In Earth & Sky | Comments Disabled
Courtesy of EarthSky
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 Tonight’s chart again shows the evening sky high to the south. To the upper left of the constellation Leo the Lion are dozens of very faint stars. They make up the constellation Coma Berenices, otherwise known as Berenice’s Hair.
The Greek-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy and others considered it the tuft at the end of Leo the Lion’s  tail. Coma Berenices remained part of Leo until a few hundred years ago, when it was first listed as a separate constellation.
The story goes that an ancient Egyptian queen, Berenice, feared for her husband’s life as he went into battle. She prayed to Aphrodite, promising to cut off her long, luxurious curls if the king returned safely. He did, and Berenice kept her promise and cut off her hair, placing it as a sacrifice on Aphrodite’s altar. However, the next day the hair was gone!
The king was enraged that the temple priests had not protected the precious locks. A quick-thinking astronomer  saved the day, or rather night, by pointing to the cascading stars at the end of Leo’s tail. He told the king that these were the queen’s tresses placed in the sky by Aphrodite for all to see. The king and queen were appeased, and no priests were beheaded.
By Larry Sessions 
EarthSky: Space 
CHANDRA Photo Album 
Universe Today 
StarDate Online 
Sky and Telescope 
National Geographic 
Space Com 
Simostronomy Blog 
Amazing Space 
Scope City 
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URLs in this post:
 www.EarthSky.org: http://www.EarthSky.org
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/phases-r-21.jpg
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Apr27.jpg
 Leo the Lion’s: http://earthsky.org/tonight/star-hop-from-leo-to-the-coma-star-cluster
 astronomer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_astronomy#Ancient_Egypt
 Coma Cluster: Galaxies in Coma Berenices: http://earthsky.org/clusters-nebulae-galaxies/the-coma-berenices-galaxy-cluster
 Looking for a sky almanac? EarthSky recommends . . .: http://earthsky.org/tonightpost/astronomy-%20essentials/sunrisesunset-moonrisemoonset-almanacs
 Larry Sessions: http://earthsky.org/team/larrysessions
 Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/
 EarthSky: Space: http://earthsky.org/space
 CHANDRA Photo Album: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/
 U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information cente: http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications/astronomical-information-center/astronomical-information-center
 Universe Today: http://www.universetoday.com/
 StarDate Online: http://stardate.org/
 Sky and Telescope: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance/
 National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/
 Space Com: http://www.space.com/nightsky/
 Simostronomy Blog: http://simostronomy.blogspot.com/
 Amazing Space: http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/tonights_sky/
 The York County Astronomical Society: http://www.ycas.org/tonights_sky.htm
 Scope City: http://www.scopecity.net/
 James S McDonnell Planetarium: http://www.slsc.org/WhatToDo/Planetarium/NightSkyUpdate.aspx
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