Home » August 2021 » Currently Reading:

Under The Martinborough Stars

August 24, 2021 August 2021 No Comments

Image credit: NASA.

Have you ever wondered where the constellations came from? Do you know your Crux from your Musca? Or Scorpius from Pavo? Who got to name them?

Humans are very good at seeing patterns in just about anything. Clouds. Toast. Rocky outcrops on Mars. Wherever we look we see a shape, pattern or a familiar face.

Way back in time, the first peoples across the globe were staring at these strange lights in the sky. They moved slowly throughout the year and you could remember you had to do something when you saw a particular one rise or set. They were pretty handy for planting, navigating or working out the times of the year.

Some of these bright lights could be seen in recognizable shapes, like crosses, triangles, squares and squashed squares. Look at any star map and you will see these simple shapes everywhere.

You could add these shapes together, so then you could create all sorts of familiar shapes. These stars became dogs, people, snakes or rivers (particularly good if there were no crosses, triangles or squares nearby) and stories were linked to them so you could remember their place in the sky.

The 12 Zodiac signs, the ones that everyone in the world can see were the first obvious seasonal markers. When a particular zodiac shape rose or set with the sun, that would be your birthday sign, your star sign depending where in the world you were. 

Every culture had their own set of stories to remember. It was useful to have objects, ideas, heroes and your mythology written in the stars.

However, as the age of science and communication approached roughly 100 years ago, people started communicating with others much further away. Imagine you were an astronomer here in NZ and you saw something strange in the sky. How would you describe the sky to someone outside of New Zealand? They wouldn’t have had the faintest idea of where you were looking.

A set of 88 constellations were created, mostly from the catalogue by the Ancient Greeks. These 88 constellations stand today, making it simple for communication and making sure that there are no gaps between constellation boundaries. The Crux, known here as the Southern Cross, is the smallest of the constellations, right in the middle of the Milky Way. 

Today we know our galaxy as the Milky Way, but it wasn’t always known by that name. But that’s a story for another day.

Comment on this Article:

Sports

Martinborough Golf Club Report

Life is relatively normal out on the Golf Course with usual weekly competitions being played along with a couple of tournaments.  The course is looking amazing at the moment with lots of visitors commenting on how good it is playing. Thursday Club has been getting good turnouts with recent winners …

Watch out Cobra Kai!  Local karate club takes out Champion Dojo Trophy

On Saturday 12 June, Wairarapa’s Okinawa Goju-ryu Karate (OGKWI) club competed against karate clubs from across the lower North Island to win the overall Kāpiti Karate Academy Championships.    13 karate students from South Wairarapa travelled to Kāpiti to compete against students from 12 other karate clubs in kata (technique), …

Bruce Henderson – LIFE MEMBER

At the recent Club Day of MRFC Bruce Henderson was awarded Life Membership to the Club, a well deserving recipient. Bruce started playing rugby in the JAB grade and played right through to a Senior, where he played 3 seasons (this was cut short as his son Nigel was very …

Regular Features

 How Well Do We Know People In Our Community?

Attilio Bergamaschi With a slightly different background from our usual residents, Attilio comes from Lodi …

From the Mayor

Spring is nearly summer now, and the town looks amazing – the Town Square in …

Cooking corner

Asparagus lunch Ingredients.  One bunch asparagus 2 large eggs Olive oil Lettuce or rocket Hard …

Did You Know

THE AVERAGE cost of a hospital stay for a Covid patient is between $68,000 and …

FIRE BRIGADE REPORT 

Congratulations to Sophie Shipperbottom, our latest Firefighter to complete the Recruits Course (actually she topped …

Community Garden News

Great spring harvests over the last couple of weeks as the artichokes seem to have …

BOOK REVIEW

Prisoners of Geography This book is sub titled; ‘Ten maps which tell you everything you …

Recent Comments