Archive | April 2014

Easter Skies Feature Big Dipper and Southern Cross

(Recommended by Lois Lion)

Easter Skies Feature Big Dipper and Southern Cross

As soon as darkness falls this Easter weekend, step outside and look skyward. What is the most prominent and easiest star pattern to recognize?

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you only need to look overhead and toward the north where you will find the seven bright stars that comprise the famous Big Dipper. For most sky gazers, the Big Dipper is probably the most important group of stars in the sky. For anyone in the latitude of New York or at points northward, it never drops below the horizon. The Big Dipper is one of the most recognizable patterns in the sky and thus one of the easiest for the novice to find.

People in other parts of the world know these seven stars not as “the Dipper” but as some sort of a wagon. In Ireland, for instance, sky watchers recognize this pattern as “King David’s Chariot,” named for one of that island’s early kings, and in France, it is the “Great Chariot.” And in the British Isles, people widely recognize these seven stars as “The Plough.” [See amazing photos taken by stargazers in April 2014]

Stargazers can use the Big Dipper to locate Polaris, the North Star. The two bright stars that mark the outer edge of the bowl of the Big Dipper make this possible. These two stars, Dubhe and Merak, are known as “the Pointers,” because they always point to Polaris. Just draw an imaginary line between these two stars and stretch it out to about five times its length. It will ultimately hit a moderately bright star: Polaris.

The Southern Cross

Those in the Southern Hemisphere don’t use the Big Dipper as their guide to the night sky, instead relying on the constellation known as Crux, the Southern Cross.

Sky watchers south of the equator (where the season is autumn), need only cast a glance toward the south, where they’ll see the distinctive shape of the Cross hanging well up in the sky. To some, it looks more like a kite, though the Cross is outlined by four bright stars.

From top to bottom, Crux measures just 6 degrees — only a little taller than the distance between the Pointer stars of the Big Dipper. In fact, the Southern Cross is the smallest (in area) of all the constellations.

Like the Big Dipper of the northern sky, the Southern Cross indicates the location of the pole, and so navigators often use it. The longer bar of the Cross points almost exactly toward the south pole of the sky, which some aviators and navigators have named the “south polar pit” because, unfortunately, it is not marked by any bright star.

It is thought that Amerigo Vespucci was the first of the European voyagers to see the “Four Stars,” as he called them, while on his third voyage, in 1501. Actually, Crux was plainly visible everywhere in the current United States some 5,000-years ago, as well as in ancient Greece and Babylonia. [Best night sky events of April 2014 (photos)]

According to Richard Hinckley Allen (1838-1908), an expert in stellar nomenclature, the Southern Cross was last seen on the horizon of Jerusalem about the time that Christ was crucified. But thanks to precession — an oscillating motion of Earth’s axis — through the centuries, the Cross shifted out of view, well to the south.

Immediately to the south and east of the Cross is a pear-shaped, inky spot, about as large as the Cross itself, looking like a great black hole in the midst of the Milky Way. When John Herschel first saw it from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa in 1835, it is said that he wrote his aunt, Caroline, about this “hole in the sky.” Indeed, few stars appear within this hole, and it soon became popularly known as the “Coalsack,” initially thought to be some sort of window into outer space. Today, astronomers know that the celebrated Coalsack is really a great cloud of gas and dust that absorbs the light of the stars that must lie beyond it.

A number of flags have also depicted the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross. Crux appears on the flags of several different nations, while the Alaskan State flag features the Dipper.

Limits of visibility

Coincidentally, this time of year, the Southern Cross and Big Dipper both reach their highest positions in the sky at the same time: around midnight local time. To see Crux, one must go at least as far south as 25 degrees north latitude. That means heading to the Florida Keys in the continental United States, where you’ll see the constellation just lifting fully above the southern horizon. A slightly better view is afforded to those living in Hawaii, where the Cross appears a few degrees higher.

For the Big Dipper, you must go north of 25 degrees south latitude to see it in its entirety.  Across the northern half of Australia, for instance, you can now just see the upside-down Dipper virtually scraping the northern horizon about an hour or two after sundown. In fact, those latitudes experience just the opposite effect as those in north, temperate latitudes (like New York). In these northern spots, inhabitants see the Dipper at a similar altitude above the northern horizon on early evenings in late November or early December, except the Dipper appears right side up.

I don’t read U.S. Propaganda

aaaaThese are classified ads, which were actually placed in U.K Newspapers:
8 years old, Hateful little bastard. Bites!
1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbor’s dog.
FREE PUPPIES. Mother is a Kennel Club registered German Shepherd.
Father is a Super Dog, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.
COWS, CALVES: NEVER BRED. Also 1 gay bull for sale.
Must sell washer and dryer £100.
Worn once by mistake.
Call Stephanie.
And the WINNER is…
FOR SALE BY OWNER Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 45 volumes.
Excellent condition, £200 or best offer.
No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything.
(Statement of the Century)
Thought from the Greatest Living Scottish Thinker–Billy Connolly.
“If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking,
How come they can’t have a headache and sex at the same time?”
Children Are Quick
TEACHER: Why are you late?
STUDENT: Class started before I got here.
TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.
TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell ‘crocodile?’ GLENN: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L’
TEACHER: No, that’s wrong
GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.
(I Love this child)
TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it’s H to O.
TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have
ten years ago.
TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I’m a lot closer to the ground than you are.
TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with ‘ I. ‘
MILLIE: I is..
TEACHER: No, Millie….. Always say, ‘I am.’
MILLIE: All right… ‘I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.’
TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father’s cherry tree,
but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn’t punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand…..
TEACHER: Now, Simon , tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don’t have to, my Mom is a good cook.
TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on ‘My Dog’ is exactly the same as your
brother’s.. Did you copy his?
CLYDE : No, sir. It’s the same dog.

(I want to adopt this kid!!!)
TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people
are no longer interested?
HAROLD: A teacher

Due to current economic conditions the light at the end of the tunnel has
been turned off.


Easter….Part 2………by Koda Towery Frye

“Quit looking at me, you silly rabbit! And straighten up that floppy ear! My Daddy would slap you silly if he saw you looking that sloppy in MooMaw and PooPaw’s yard.”


I don’t know why Mommie always says, “stick out your tongue and say AH, when taking my picture….I can say cheese like everyone else.”