and the Pleiades
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.
days 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.
made with TheSky
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
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
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 risen Aldebaran
and the Pleiades.
these hallowed celestial bodies to energize your spirit and
fill you with awe and wonder.
indeed potent. It is said that they direct the Light of God toward
Earth. Perhaps as this occurs at critical times in the Earth's evolution,
that which is not in alignment with the Light of God perishes.
October 31, 2001 - Halloween and the Ghost Head Nebula
de Paris) et al., ESA, NASA
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, and All
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
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
foresee the future and understand death and rebirth. The Mexican
culture embraces the Festival of The Day of the Dead, as a time
remembering, and much feasting. They believe that family members
who have died return to their grave sites, so flowers and gifts
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! Ponder
the Pleiades. Create
an altar and take the time to hallow the life of the spirit
in and out of form!
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May your Night Sky traveling always be filled
with Celestial Delights and Treats!
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