Sky Tour Radio Presents Lepus: Bun On The Run
April 1st, 2018
In this episode of SkyTour Radio, in honor of it being Easter weekend, we will be taking a closer look at the Lepus, or Rabbit constellation. We will delve deep into the mythology of Lepus and the constellations that surround it, including Orion, the Hunter and his two hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor.
Although the hare does not represent any particular figure in Greek mythology, Lepus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations.
It is located below the constellation Orion (the hunter), and is sometimes represented as a hare being chased by Orion or, alternatively, by Orion’s hunting dogs.
Four stars of this constellation form a quadrilateral and are known as “the Throne of Jawzā'” or “the Hindmost Chair of Jawzā'” and “the Camels Quenching Their Thirst” in Arabic.
It was named after Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology. Its brightest stars are Rigel (Beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis), a blue-white and a red super-giant, respectively.
In artistic renderings, the surrounding constellations are sometimes related to Orion: he is depicted standing next to the river Eridanus with his two hunting dogs Canis Major and Canis Minor, fighting Taurus. He is sometimes depicted hunting Lepus the hare. He sometimes is depicted to have a lion’s hide in his hand.
Orion’s seven brightest stars form a distinctive hourglass-shaped asterism, or pattern, in the night sky. Four stars—Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Saiph—form a large roughly rectangular shape, in the center of which lie the three stars of Orion’s Belt—Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Coincidentally, these seven stars are among the most distant that can easily be seen with the naked eye. Descending from the ‘belt’ is a smaller line of three stars (the middle of which is in fact not a star but the Orion Nebula), known as the hunter’s ‘sword’.
In Greek mythology, Canis Minor was sometimes connected with the Teumessian Fox, a beast turned into stone with its hunter, Laelaps, by Zeus, who placed them in heaven as Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (Teumessian Fox). Eratosthenes accompanied the Little Dog with Orion, while Hyginus linked the constellation with Maera, a dog owned by Icarius of Athens. On discovering the latter’s death, the dog and Icarius’ daughter Erigone took their lives and all three were placed in the sky—Erigone as Virgo and Icarius as Boötes. As a reward for his faithfulness, the dog was placed along the “banks” of the Milky Way, which the ancients believed to be a heavenly river, where he would never suffer from thirst.
Canis Major is a constellation in the southern celestial hemisphere whose name means “greater dog” in Latin.
In Greek Mythology, Canis Major represented the dog Laelaps, a gift from Zeus to Europa; or sometimes the hound of Procris, Diana’s nymph; or the one given by Aurora to Cephalus, so famed for its speed that Zeus elevated it to the sky. It was also considered to represent one of Orion’s hunting dogs, pursuing Lepus the Hare or helping Orion fight Taurus the Bull; and is referred to in this way by Aratos, Homer and Hesiod. The ancient Greeks refer only to one dog, but by Roman times, Canis Minor appears as Orion’s second dog.
SkyTour Radio explores the Universe in a down to Earth manner explaining the science we know in fun and bite-sized terms. Science is for everyone and people shouldn’t require an advanced degree to understand as long as it is delivered in an easy to follow way. From Black Holes to Extraterrestrial Life, we will explore the Universe like never before. Join us to check out such things as how stars form, how they live and, how our fate is intertwined with theirs. On the extraterrestrial life front, we will be speaking to the UFO and science arena’s top researchers and bring UFOlogy into the 21st century.
Skytour Radio Broadcasts LIVE every Sunday starting at 9pm EST. Tune in on http://kgraradio.com or join the discussion by going to http://kgraradio.com/chat Don’t forget you can find out more information, see show updates and get more information on the Sky Tour Radio show page. http://kgraradio.com/skytour-radio/