Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/202

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northeast. It would be well to begin at nine o'clock, about the 1st of June, and watch the motion of the heavens for two or three hours. At the commencement of the observations you will find the stars in Boötes, Virgo, and Lyra in the positions I have just mentioned, while half-way down the western sky will be seen the Sickle of Leo (see "Popular Science Monthly" for April). The brilliant Procyon and Capella will be found almost ready to set in the west and northwest, respectively. Between Procyon and Capella, and higher above the horizon, shine the twin stars in Gemini, with the planets Venus and Saturn, near each other, below them. There will be no difficulty in recognizing Venus, for it is now brighter than any other star in the heavens. Saturn would be regarded also as a very bright star, but for the overpowering contrast with its more brilliant sister. Looking over into the south, the observer will see the planet Jupiter a little east of Spica in Virgo, and second only to Venus in brilliancy.

In an hour Saturn and Venus will be setting, and Jupiter will be well past the meridian. In another hour the observer will perceive that the constellations are approaching the places given to them in our map, and at midnight he will find them all in their assigned positions. A single evening spent in observations of this sort will teach him more about the places of the stars than he could learn from a dozen books.

Taking, now, the largest opera-glass you can get (I have before said that the diameter of the object-glasses should not be less than 1·5 inch, and, I may add, the larger they are the better), find the constellation Scorpio, and its chief star Antares. The map shows you where to look for it at midnight on the 1st of June. If you prefer to begin at nine o'clock at that date, then, instead of looking directly in the south for Scorpio, you must expect to see it just rising in the southeast. You will recognize Antares by its fiery color, as well as by the striking arrangement of its surrounding stars. There are few constellations which bear so close a resemblance to the objects they are named after as Scorpio. It does not require a very violent exercise of the imagination to see in this long, winding trail of stars a gigantic scorpion, with its head to the west, and flourishing its upraised sting that glitters with a pair of twin stars, as if ready to strike. Readers of the old story of Phaeton's disastrous attempt to drive the chariot of the Sun for a day will remember it was the sight of this threatening monster that so terrified the ambitious youth that he lost control of Apollo's horses, and came near burning the earth up by running the Sun into it.

Antares rather gains in redness when viewed with a glass. Its color is very remarkable, and it is a curious circumstance that with powerful telescopes a small, bright-green star is seen apparently almost touching it. Antares belongs to Secchi's third type of suns, that in which the spectroscopic appearances suggest the existence of a