Dear Friends and Neighbors,
"It will be good to see the stars of home." Romulan Commander, Star Trek: The Original Series, ep. Balance of Terror,
I often think of this quote as certain stars reappear on the horizon with the change of the seasons. A question I ask my students on one of their labs is to name stars which appear at the start of spring. Most come up with Arcturus and Spica. The Latin meaning of Arcturus is the "Guardian of the Bear" (Berman, 1995) which is funny when you consider the Crow tribe considered it the light of a hunting party pursuing the great bear as she left her den. Spica, the brightest star in Virgo, has an even more interesting name origin. It means, "The ear of grain of the Sumerian goddess, Shala." (Krupp, 1991). This makes sense when one considers it a seed planted in Virgo, the virgin Earth. It has been seen as a sign of planting for centuries as it rises just after sunset around the Vernal Equinox.
Both stars are easy to find. Just follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper and "arc to Arcturus" then "speed on to Spica."
The Stargazer Observatory will be open this Saturday, 8:00-10:00PM (weather permitting as always). Please dress accordingly as neither the dome or observation deck are heated.
See you there,