Being on the ocean can present a beautiful opportunity for star gazing and trying to spot the constellations legends are based on.
For centuries sailors have used the stars to guide them on their journeys. Stars act as a map, a celestial storybook, and a scientific wonder.
Stargazing from your boat can be a serene experience. Find a patch of water you are familiar with, keep your running lights on, wrap yourself in a blanket with a hot drink and look at the night sky to see if you spot the old legends.
The winter sky showcases several constellations from late December to late March, including Auriga, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Carina, Eridanus, Gemini, Monoceros, Orion, and Taurus. Although some of these names may sound familiar, Taurus is considered one of the oldest constellations dating back to the Bronze Age. It is one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac first cataloged by Greek astronomer Claudia Ptolemy in the second century CE.
The constellation has been associated with several cultures and mythologies. In Greek mythology, Taurus is associated with Zeus. Zeus transformed himself into a bull to attract Princess Europa and abducted the princess to the island of Crete. After he captured her, they had three sons, one being the king of Crete Minos, who sacrificed 14 young men and women to the Minotaur each year. Zeus later commemorated the bull by placing it in the stars, according to Constellation Guide.
One of the brightest and most well-known constellations is Orion, which lies on the celestial equator. Orion is also known as the Hunter. He is flanked by his two hunting dogs, nearby Canis Major and Canis Minor constellations.
In Sumerian mythology, specifically related to Gilgamesh, the Sumerians associated the constellation with the story of their hero fighting the bull of heaven, Taurus. They called Orion, URU AN-NA, “the light of heaven,” and Taurus GUD AN-NA, “the bull of heaven,” according to Constellation Guide.
In Greek mythology, one of the tales says that the goddess Artemis fell in love with the hunter. So, one day, her brother Apollo challenged her to shoot a far-off target.
She aimed and hit her intended target with one arrow without realizing it was Orion. Devasted by the loss of her love, she immortalized him in the stars.
Several mythologies surround the various constellations that light up the night sky. The winter constellations offer their own unique stories, which have been passed down for centuries.
When looking for a fun nighttime activity in the fall or winter, stargazing wouldn’t go amiss. Hang out on your deck and enjoy the peace and quiet.
For more information on constellations, visit https://www.constellation-guide.com/.