Thursday, June 6, 2013
The Ellesnburg sky for the week of 6/8/13
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 Venus and Mercury set early, look for them first. The very bright Venus is about a half a fist held upright and at arm’s length above the west-northwest horizon at 9:30. Much dimmer Mercury is a half a fist to the upper left of it. If you need to go off and make small talk with someone, you have some time to spare now. At 10 p.m., Saturn is three fists above due south. If you’re staying at the party late, don’t worry. Saturn doesn’t set in the southwest sky until 3 a.m.
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 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: Tomorrow morning, Mercury will be as far away from the Sun in the sky as it will get this orbital cycle. This "farthest away" point is known as the planet's greatest elongation. Since Mercury is in evening sky, it is east of the Sun. Thus, this evening’s elongation is known as the greatest eastern elongation. (If you care to remember this in general, remember both eastern and evening start with the letter "e".) Tonight and tomorrow will be the best nights to observe Mercury for the next few months. Mercury is one fist held upright and at arm’s length above the west-northwest horizon at 9:30 p.m. Over the next two weeks, Mercury will move toward the Sun in the sky. By late July, it will be visible in the morning sky.
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.