Thursday, June 7, 2012
The Ellensburg sky for the week of 6/9/12
Have you bought your favorite CWU graduate a graduation gift yet? Why not get her or him a star? I don’t mean from one of those organizations that offers to “register the name of YOUR star with the U.S. Patent Office”. No company owns the right to name stars after people. Besides, the stars those companies “name” are so dim you can’t find them. In this column, I’ll pick a constellation and representative star for each of the four colleges at CWU. Then, I’ll briefly tell the story of the constellation and relate that story to the aspect of public service CWU graduates from that college are uniquely qualified to engage in based on my version of sky interpretation. A couple can have “their” song so your favorite CWU graduate can have her or his star.
Saturday: Just as gyms and stadiums have been filled with smart people for many evenings for the past few weeks, the sky is filled with planets. Since Mercury sets early, start there. Mercury is a half a fist held upright and at arm’s length above the northwest horizon at 9:30 p.m. At 10 p.m. when it is a little darker, find Mars three and a half fists above the northwest horizon and Saturn three and a half fists above the south-southwest horizon. By 4:30 a.m., Jupiter is just peeking up above the east-northeast horizon.
Sunday: College of Arts and Humanities: You are the people who interpret the world in unique ways. Then, you share those ways with others. According to Greek mythology, Orpheus charmed everyone he met when he played the lyre or harp. After his wife died tragically, he journeyed to the underworld to charm its inhabitants in an effort to win his wife back to the living world. Your service reminder: use your talent to bring joy to others. The constellation Lyra and its bright star Vega should remind you of the power of the arts. Vega is five fists held upright and at arm’s length above the southwest horizon at 11 p.m.
Monday: College of Business. You are the future movers and shakers. The future CEOs. The future big donors to Central. Auriga represented a king of Athens who happened to be mobility impaired. Instead of sitting around waiting for others to transport him, he took the initiative to invent the four-wheeled chariot. He solved a problem for a special need. Your service reminder: address the problems of those in the most need. To remind you of that, look to the constellation Auriga. Its bright star Capella is about one fist above the north horizon at 11 p.m.
Tuesday: Last Tuesday was the last Transit of Venus for the next 105 years. Where were you? If you were one of 156 intrepid people who braved the wind and five dogs that tried to eat our chips, you were on the corner of 18th Avenue and Walnut Street safely looking at the Venus Transit. There are a few pictures on the CWU Astronomy Club Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/CWUAC. An astrophotographer in Australia captured the Hubble Space telescope transiting the Sun in one second during the Venus Transit. Go to http://goo.gl/TIdMS for more information.
Wednesday: College of Education and Professional Studies. You are the teachers. The craftspeople. The facilitators of learning in a diverse world. Bootes, the herdsman, was such a person. Bootes’ job was to guide the northern constellations to the feeding place and the watering hole. He and his dogs were especially in charge of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the greater and lesser bears. Your service reminder: guide others to a better place in life. Look to the constellation Bootes and its bright star Arcturus to remind you of this. Arcturus is six fists above the southwest horizon at 11 p.m.
Thursday: College of the Sciences. You are the people who will systematically study how the world works. Agriculture is an important scientific application. Each year, farmers must use the findings of science to be successful. Who better to represent the College of the Sciences than Virgo, the goddess of the harvest? Virgo looms large in the sky holding an ear of wheat in her hand. Your service reminder: study the practical aspects of the scientific world. The ear of wheat, and your service reminder, is represented by the bright star Spica. Spica is two and a half fists above the southwest horizon at 11 p.m.
Friday: Altair, in the constellation Aquila the eagle, is two fists above the east horizon at 11 p.m.
The positional information in this column about stars and planets is typically accurate for the entire week.