Constellations of the Southern Autumn Help
Constellations of the Southern Autumn—Libra
Libra is a group of faint stars representing the scales of justice. It is high in the northeastern sky. It has the general shape of a trapezoid or diamond at this time of the year (Fig. 3-12).
Virgo , the virgin, is fairly high in the north-northeast sky. As viewed from this angle, it is shaped rather like a scorpion (Fig. 3-13). Virgo contains the bright star Spica .
Leo , the lion, is high in the northwest sky. It bears no resemblance to a resting lion or Sphinx, as it does when looked at from north of the equator. Instead, its shape more nearly resembles that of a mangled coat hanger (Fig. 3-14) or a laundry iron held upside down. The bright star Regulus dominates.
Cancer And Canis Minor
Cancer , the crab, is low in the northwest sky (Fig. 3-15). Next to Cancer is Canis Minor , the little dog, which contains the prominent star Procyon . In ancient Greek mythology, souls were said to enter the world by passing down from the heavens through Cancer.
Low in the northeastern sky, near the horizon, is a group of several stars that form an inverted-U or Greek letter omega shape. These stars form the constellation Corona Borealis , the northern crown (Fig. 3-16). This constellation is dominated by the moderately bright star Alphecca , also known as Gemma .
Bootes And Canes Venatici
Just to the left of the northern crown you will see a brilliant, twinkling star at an elevation of about 20 degrees in the northeast or north-northeast sky. This is Arcturus . If you use your imagination, you might see that this star forms the point where a fish joins its tail (Fig. 3-17). The fish seems to be swimming straight downward. This is Bootes , the herdsman. Just to the left of Bootes, near the northern horizon, is a group of three rather dim stars. These are Bootes’ canine companions, Canes Venatici .
Corvus, Crater, And Hydra
A large portion of the autumn evening sky is occupied by three constellations consisting of relatively dim stars. These are Corvus , the crow, Crater , the cup, and Hydra , the sea serpent or water snake (Fig. 3-18). Hydra stretches from low in the northwest, nearly through the zenith, to high in the eastern sky. Corvus and Crater are both high in the north, just below Hydra.
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