Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/543

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Look next at the little group of three stars forming the head of Orion. Although there is no nebula here, yet these stars, as seen with the naked eye, have a remarkably nebulous look, and Ptolemy regarded the group as a nebulous star. The largest star is called Lambda (λ); the others are Phi (φ) one and two. An opera-glass will show another star above λ, and a fifth star below φ2 which is the farthest of the two Phis from Lambda. It will also reveal a faint twinkling between λ and φ1. A field-glass shows that this twinkling is produced by a pretty little row of three stars of the eighth and ninth magnitudes.

PSM V32 D539 Cancer canis minor and monogeros.jpg
Map 3.

In fact, Orion is such a striking object in the sky that more than one attempt has been made to steal away its name and substitute that of some modern hero. The University of Leipsic, in 1807, formally resolved that the stars forming the Belt and Sword of Orion should henceforth be known as the constellation of Napoleon. A more ridiculous proposition was that of an Englishman, who proposed to rename Orion for the British naval bulldog Nelson.