Column

Constellation of the Month: Women in the night sky

David Baumgartner writes about how some women are depicted in the stars.

This article was contributed by David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.

There are a number of large male figures looking down on us such. Most of them known for killing someone or another and ending up in the sky along with their victims, such as Scorpio killing Orion.

All these stories about men in the sky, pretty sexist I think. Although there are a few females up there: Cassiopeia, Virgo, and Andromeda, to name a few. The only trouble here is most of these girls don’t have the best reputation for being the most admired women in town. Therefore, you see Cassiopeia and the Princess Andromeda tied to a chair and a horse, respectfully.

The Gods liked to mess with these girls, so they sat Cassiopeia in a chair and positioned her in the sky so she would spend half of the day upside down. Males have a funny way of showing affection.

But each one of these constellations have something unique in their vicinity. Just south of Cassiopeia you will find one of the best looking pair of open clusters that you can see within view in one low power eyepiece. Andromeda has the Andromeda Galaxy, the furthest one can see with the naked eye, 2.5 million light years away from the planet Earth.

This means that the light you see tonight left Andromeda 2.5 million years ago traveling at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. Stop and think about that for a while.

Ka-Boom, mind blowing.

But if that is way too far away for you, then just wait for about 4.5 billon years from now when Andromeda comes visiting us as it crashes into our Milky Way. There will be some changes made in and around this part of our galaxy. Who knows if we will even be around at that time?

Even Hercules won’t be any match with the princess’ force. Nothing like a little revenge now and then. Way to go girl.

Clear skies…

Up and coming events:

Jul 17: First Quarter Moon

Jul 21: Moon is at perigee (226,503 miles from Earth)

Jul 21: Venus passes 1.2 degrees north of Regulus

Jul 23: Full Moon

Jul 24: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Saturn

Jul 25: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Jupiter

Jul 27: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Neptune

Jul 29: Mars passes 0.7 degrees north of Regulus

Jul 30: Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks

Jul 31: Last Quarter Moon

Jul 31: Moon passes 1.8 degrees south of Uranus

David Baumgartner

I am a local fella. Local schools from Fremont, Sacred Heart, Santa Anita, Hollister High, to San Benito Jr. Collage (Now Gavilan). Then joined the US Air Force where I specialized in Airborne Radar. Married my high school sweetheart JoAnne., shortly after three children arrived; Cindi, Michael, and Lisa. Somehow we ended up with nine Grandchildren.  Went on to San Luis Obispo, Guesta, Collages, and on to Univ. of New Mexico. Came back to Hollister. Opened up Three Pet Stores; Dave's Aquarium Pets & Supplies in SLO, Watsonvile, and Hollister. The family spent two and a half years running a ranch up in Oregon. Made our way back to Hollister.  Got my Real Estate Licence in 1982, opened my own office in 93'. In the mean time raised Swans and revitalized my old hobby of Astronomy.  In 2001 I was named Chamber of Commence Man of the Year. I think I was the only one nominated. I don't care, I'm taking it. Now in December of 2018 I retired. Not sure if I was forced out or not. Non the less, I am retired, at 77 years of age I think it was time. Now the last thing I have to do is buy a coffin. I hear COSCO sells them now. But the only drawback is; you have to buy them in lots of six.  I guess I could buy them for the whole family. Not that funny, but thrifty.