Stargazing in the Caribbean
copyright© 1998 Jeannie Kuich

AUGUST 2009 SKY CALENDAR

SPECIAL EVENTS:
On the 22nd low in the west after sunset are the crescent moon, Mercury and Saturn.
The Perseid meteor showe, peaking on the 12th, is not expected to put on a big show this year, but good activity may occur.
On the 27th about 10 p.m. the Moon may occult (block out) the star Antares in Scorpius briefly. Use binoculars.


MOON PHASES:
Thu. 6th: Full
Thu. 13th: Last Quarter
Thu. 20th: New
Thu. 27th: First Quarter


MOON, PLANET AND STAR DANCES:
Sun. 2nd; Mercury and the star Regulus in Leo in evening
Thu. 6th: Moon and Jupiter in evening
Fri. 14th: Moon and the Pleiades star sisters in late evening
Sat. 15th: Moon and Mars before dawn
Mon. 17th: Mercury and Saturn in evening and Moon and Venus before dawn
Sat. 22nd: Moon, Mercury and Saturn in early evening
Mon. 24th: Moon and the star Spica in Virgo in evening
Thu. 27th: Moon may cover the star Antares in Scorpius in evening


                                      SOAP OPERA
          Escorting the Milky Way directly overhead is the Summer or Navigator’s Triangle. Brightest of the triangle is Vega in Lyra on the western edge. Altair in Aquila rides on the southeastern shoulder and Deneb in Cygnus flies at the northern end of the Great Rift in the Milky Way.
Vega and Altair are the major participants in this sky myth story which is known by more people in the world than any other because it originated in China, Japan and Korea. Vega represents the beautiful and renowned weaver, Tchi-niu, the Weaving Princess. Altair is Kien-niou, the handsome, enterprising Shepherd with whom she falls in love. After a short courtship the parents of Tchi-niu reluctantly allow her to marry Kien-niou, provided that they continue their duties. But Kien-niou will have none of that because now he is a prince and has more important jobs to do than be an ordinary shepherd. Besides, they are so besotted with each other that they could care less about mom and dad and all those boring jobs.
The two take off to try to milk the stars and to become rich so that the parents will be satisfied and not demand that they work. But like well-intended schemes it doesn’t pan out. When they continue to neglect their duties, the royal family, horrified and angry at such disobedience, separates the two by sending Kien-niou across the Celestial River, our Milky Way.
The sky gods, however, take pity on the two pining lovers and feel that such a banishment is too harsh. So it was decreed that on the seventh day of the seventh month, Kien-niou could cross the River and visit Tchi-niu for a day. But at sunset the two must part.
On July 7th magpies gather from all around the Earth and fly over the Milky Way, forming with their feathers a bridge on which Kien-niou can walk. After their encounter the magpies return to their woods with no feathers on their heads because the Shepherd’s steps have worn them away. This loss of feathers actually occurs when the birds molt.
If there should be a shower at the end of that day, it is thought that the raindrops represent the tears of the lovers as they part again for another year.

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