Stargazing in the Caribbean
copyright© 1998 Jeannie Kuich

JULY 2009 SKY CALENDAR

SPECIAL EVENTS:
The Delta Aquarid meteor shower culminates on the 28th but look several days before and after this date.
A high tidal range is expected in July due to the MoonТs close proximity to Earth when the Moon is only six hours from its new phase.


MOON PHASES:
Tue. 7th: Full
Wed. 15th: Last Quarter
Wed. 22nd: New
Thu. 30th: First Quarter


MOON, PLANET AND STAR DANCES:
Sat. 4th: Moon and the star Antares in Scorpius in evening
Sun. 5th: Venus and the Pleiades star sisters before dawn
Fri. 10th: Moon and Jupiter in late evening
Tue. 14th: Venus and the star Aldebaran in Taurus before dawn
Fri. 17th: Moon and the Pleiades star sisters before dawn
Sat. 18th: Moon and Mars before dawn
Sun. 19th: Moon and Venus before dawn
Fri. 24th: Moon and the star Regulus in Leo around midnight
Sat. 25th: Moon and Saturn in evening
Mon. 27th: Moon and the star Spica in Virgo in evening
Fri. 31st: Moon and the star Antares in Scorpius in late evening


SOAP OPERA
          Not far from the overhead is the Arcturus glowing like a banked coal in Bootes the Bear Driver. Bootes means Ox Driver but in connection with the two Bears, Ursa Major and Minor, he drives the Bears around Polaris the North Star.
          Arcturus is easy to find by extending the handle of the Big Dipper in a long arc toward the southwest.  Arc to Arcturus! Depending upon its position in the sky Bootes may appear more as a kite or even an ice cream cone, but in the Caribbean tropics where it is approaching the west, it resembles a fish. The Kobeua Indians of northern Brazil saw a Piranha in the stars of Bootes.
          There is a gory Greek myth with a twist associated with Bootes because of the mistrust of his compatriots. Bootes as Icarius, a grape grower, learned how to make wine and when he offered it to his friends to try out, they became stupefied. His friends thought that Icarius had poisoned them, so they killed him. When his hunting dogs found his body, the dogs killed themselves when they leaped into the deep ditch where Icarius had been placed.
          Arcturus is so bright and rich in color that it is used as a beacon to navigate the sky. It is an obese red supergiant, the fourth brightest star in the sky and about 34 light years from Earth. Arcturus is a famous star in modern history, for in 1933 it opened the World Fair in Chicago. The rays from Arcturus were caught in a telescope which focused them onto a photoelectric cell, generating a small electric current which, after amplication, turned on the lights of the fair.

Many other sky legends may be found in "Soap Operas Of The Sky", a stargazing guide by Jeannie Kuich.