and the Pleiades
Up! Every year on Halloween night we can see the Pleiades star cluster
also known as the Seven Sisters, almost overhead at midnight. They
signal not only the night of the dead, but to some even the end of
the world itself.
at the end of October and the beginnng of November, when the Seven
Sisters reign high overhead at midnight, are also considered
by many to be hallowed days.
Seven Sisters reign over the Days of the Dead.
at midnight during late October / early
November for mid-Northern latitudes. The dashed vertical
red line marks the meridian, an imaginary line running from due South
to due North. The Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster can easily
be seen nearly overhead at midnight
on Halloween. The inset shows a binocular view of
the star cluster. Seven
three stars of the belt of Orion point down (SE) to our brightest
and up to the reddish star of enlightenment, Aldebaran.
Aldebaran appears to be part of the V-shaped
Hyades and lies southeast of the Pleiades. Betelgeuse is
the reddish shoulder star of Orion. Look Up!
midnight is quite a sight, but to some it may cause a fright! Keep
many people long ago, when The Pleiades reached their highest point
it was a signal that this was the time of the
year to honor the dead
Many peoples believed that a great
ancient cataclysm occurred when the Pleiades were overhead at midnight,
such as the great biblical flood or the sinking of Atlantis.
belief was so widespread that in Mexico the Pyramid of the Sun
in Teotihuacan was oriented to the setting of The Pleiades as were
all of the city's west running streets. And in ancient Greece several
temples were lined up with the rising and setting of the Seven
Sisters. The Aztec and Maya not only believed that the world would
come to an end on one of these Pleiades overhead-at-midnight nights,
but were convinced that the world had already been destroyed and
recreated 4 times on just such a night. Should we rename them the
Seven Sinister Sisters?
although The Pleiades no longer reach their highest point, that
is culminate, exactly at midnight on the same nights as they did
in ancient times, nevertheless, they are still almost at their
highest every Halloween at midnight as a modern reminder that our
ancestors were deeply moved and affected by the cosmos and used
many cosmic coincidences to determine important religious and ceremonial
events in their life. Star
Pleiades culminate, reach their highest point at midnight, 12:00am
PST November 20.
is a Halloween ghost of the summer sun just before sunrise and
just after sunset. Bright and flashing Arcturus can
be seen in the west at nightfall until it sets at 7:45pm. Orion the
Hunter fully rises in the east around 10:45pm guiding you to the already
Aldebaran and the Pleiades.
Up! Allow these hallowed celestial bodies to energize your spirit and
fill you with awe and wonder.
October 31, 2001 - Halloween and the Ghost Head Nebula
origin is ancient and astronomical. Since the fifth century BC, Halloween
has been celebrated as a cross-quarter day, a day halfway between
an equinox (equal day / equal night) and a solstice (minimum day
/ maximum night in the northern hemisphere). Another cross-quarter
day is Groundhog's Day. Halloween's modern celebration retains historic
roots in dressing to scare away the spirits of the dead. A perhaps-fitting
modern tribute to this ancient holiday is the above-pictured Ghost
Head Nebula taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. Appearing similar
to the icon of a fictional ghost, NGC 2080 is actually a star forming
region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own
Milky Way Galaxy. The Ghost Head Nebula spans about 50 light-years
and is shown in representative colors. APOD:
10/31/01 ~ Current
Astronomy Picture of the Day
the name given around the end of the first millennium to All
Saints Day, November 1,
Souls Day, November
2. October 31 was "All
Hallowed's Eve" or Hallow'e'en. The roots of these hallowed days go
back to the Celts who celebrated Samhain at
the end of October and the beginning
of November. This was and is the time when the veils
between the spirit world and physical world thin, a time when ghosts
and spirit beings walk the Earth. It used to be a scary time, a time
when people got frightened by the spirits and a time when they tried
to hide and confuse the spirits by wearing costumes.
people seem to see these spirit beings. Today, this is a time for children
to dress in costumes and play trick or treat. It is also a time to
honor our ancestors, release the old, foresee the future and understand
death and rebirth. The Mexican culture embraces the Festival of The
Day of the Dead, as a time of happiness, remembering, and much feasting.
They believe that family members who have died return to their grave
sites, so flowers and gifts are placed there. The date of this festival
varies from town to town, ranging from the nights of October
31 through November 2, so the name in its plural
form Los Dias de los Muertos is often used.
The Days of the Dead. Look Up and ponder
the Pleiades. Create
an altar and take the time to hallow the life of the spirit
in and out of form!
like to know your thoughts about The Night Sky ...
send me an email.
May your Night Sky traveling always be filled
with Celestial Delights and Treats!