Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Spirituality 365 Days a Year for Nov. 19th – Night-Fowling, Makahiki

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November 19th

Night-Fowling, Makahiki

 

According to the Perpetual Almanack of Folklore and Markham Hunger’s Prevention 1621, this is the best time for night-fowling. The weather should be mild and the moon full. One is to then take a small bell with a melodic sound, a net, and a bundle of straw into some stubble field. The net is then to be laid upon the ground close to the bushes. The bell is then tolled to awaken the fowl lingering nearby. A fire is then started with the straw to frighten the awakened birds out of the bushes and into the net.

Makahiki is the beginning of the Hawaiian harvest season when the Pleiades become visible in the night sky. According to Greek legend, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione; sisters of Hyades. Zeus placed them in the heavens to help them escape the amorous inclinations of Orion, who had fallen in love with them.

 

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Jan. 28th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 January 28
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Planet Aurora Borealis
Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand 

Explanation: Illuminated by an eerie greenish light, this remarkable little planet is covered with ice and snow and ringed by tall pine trees. Of course, this little planet is actually planet Earth, and the surrounding stars are above the horizon near Östersund, Sweden. The pale greenish illumination is from a curtain of shimmering Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights. The display was triggered when a giant solar coronal mass ejection (CME) rocked planet Earth’s magnetosphere on January 24th and produced a strong geomagnetic storm. Northern hemisphere skygazers will also recognize the familiar orientation of stars at the left, including the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters and the stars of Orion. Increasing solar activity has caused recent auroral displays to be wide spread, including Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights, at high southern latitudes.

Astronomy Picture of the Day for November 17th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2011 November 17
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Pleiades to Hyades
Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo

 

Explanation: This cosmic vista stretches almost 20 degrees across the gentle constellation Taurus. It begins at the Pleiades and ends at the Hyades, two of the best known star clusters in planet Earth’s sky. At left, the lovely Pleiades star cluster is about 400 light-years away. In a familiar celestial scene, the cluster stars shine through dusty clouds that scatter blue starlight. At right, the V-shaped Hyades cluster looks more spread out compared to the compact Pleiades and lies much closer, 150 light-years distant. Of course, the Hyades cluster stars seem anchored by bright Aldebaran, a red giant star with a yellowish appearance. But Aldebaran actually lies only 65 light-years away, by chance along the line of sight to the Hyades cluster. Faint dust clouds found near the edge of the Taurus Molecular Cloud are also evident throughout the remarkable 12 panel mosaic. The wide field of view includes the youthful star T Tauri and Hind’s variable nebula about four degrees left of Aldebaran on the sky.