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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Sky Tonight—Feb 19, The Hare and the Dove below the Hunter

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

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If you look south around 8 p.m., you will easily notice a short, straight row of three medium bright stars. These stars represent the Belt of Orion the Hunter. Also, notice the star Sirius.

Sirius: Dog Star and brightest star

On old sky maps, the mighty Hunter of the ancient myths is seen poised with an upraised club and shield, as though fending off the raging Bull, Taurus.

Jupiter is the bright object in the west after sunset

Venus is the bright object in the southeast before sunrise

Meanwhile, two meek animals seem to cower at the Hunter’s feet. Lepus the Hare was described by Roman stargazers as being “swift,” “light-footed,” and “eared.” Columba the Dove can be found to the south of the Hare. This little constellation is sometimes ignored in books about the sky, probably because it is so far south as seen from the U.S. Richard Hinckley Allen, in his classic book, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, wrote that Columba was first seen in constellation drawings in 1603. But, he said, there are hints in early writings that stargazers knew the name Columba, and identified a Dove here, as long as 17 centuries ago.

Written by Deborah Byrd

Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL

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Universe Today

StarDate Online

Sky and Telescope

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Simostronomy Blog

Amazing Space

The York County Astronomical Society

Scope City

James S McDonnell Planetarium

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