Friday, December 16, 2011

Pegasus the Flying Horse Part II

Sometimes I like the names of stars and their origins just as much as the mythologies of entire constellations. So let's take a closer look at four stars in Pegasus the Flying Horse.

The main feature of Pegasus are four stars marking a Great Square in the almost overhead after sunset. This is Pegasus' body and the Arabic names of three of these stars relate to that. The fourth one... well just you wait.

The alpha star in Pegasus is called Markab which means "the saddle" but can be translated as "ship" or "vehicle" - anything to travel upon. Beta is named Scheat, "the horse's shoulder." And gamma is Algenib, "the side" or "the wing." Those seem pretty straightforward and actually correspond to Pegasus' imagined body parts. The Arabic peoples were very literal when it came to naming the stars. The fourth star in the Great Square is a little more complicated.

This star is known today as Alpheratz, "the horse's navel." Technically Alpheratz is located in another famous constellation: Andromeda the Maiden. Andromeda was the daughter of Queen Cassiopeia who was chained to a rock in the ocean as a sacrifice to the dreaded sea monster. So Alpheratz is not only Pegasus' belly but also Andromeda's head. When you see old star maps of the two constellations you can't help but feel sorry for Andromeda. Couldn't they find a little more room for her up there?

I can picture Andromeda discussing the matter with the gods.  Zeus might say, "Well, it's getting pretty crowded up there in the sky - what with all the new constellations."  After a thoughtful pause he continues, "The only empty space is up there by Pegasus' belly.  We'll just have to squeeze you up in there..."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pegasus the Flying Horse

One of the great fall constellations is Pegasus the Flying horse. He's easy to find in the sky if you're prepared to imagine him flying upside-down. Look for a big square or diamond shape of dim stars almost straight overhead. As an added clue there are very few stars within the square. This is Pegasus' body. His head and mane are to the right from the square.

Pegasus has one of the grossest origin stories I've ever read. He was born during the epic battle between Perseus the Hero and the dreaded Sea Monster. Remember the Sea Monster had just risen from the briny deep to devour poor, helpless Princess Andromeda - when Perseus flew up. And luckily Perseus had just the weapon to fight the horrible beast. Earlier in the day Perseus decapitated Medusa - the snaky-haired gorgon whose look turned all living souls to stone. Perseus closed his eyes and took Medusa's bloody head out of a bag and showed it to the Sea Monster. At first glance the monster turned to stone, cracked of its own weight and fell to the bottom of the sea.

But where did Pegasus come from? I'm getting to it.

During the battle, Medusa's head was still a little juicy. I mean Perseus just killed her that morning after all. When Perseus held out Medusa's head to the Sea Monster some blood dripped out of her neck. When the blood hit the sea water below a magical thing happened. Through some sort of foamy, jello process the Gorgon's blood mixed with the water to form into... Pegasus the Flying Horse. This was a common theme in Greek mythology - when a monster or god bled, something always sprang from it. But it's hard to imagine a lovely winged horse coming from such a gruesome beginning. Those Greeks sure had imaginations!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Cetus the Sea Monster

Our hero Perseus (remember him), was flying through the air, borne on his winged sandals. He was feeling quite proud of himself since he just killed Medusa earlier in the day. Suddenly he hears a scream and looks down to see a young maiden chained to a rock about to be devoured by a sea monster. Perseus thinks, "Man, does it get any better than this?" Not only did he kill Medusa, but now he can save a maiden in distress.

Perseus yells down to Andromeda to close her eyes and he pulls out Medusa's bloody head. He shows the head to the sea monster who instantly turns to stone, cracks of his own monstrous weight, and falls to the bottom of the ocean never to be seen again. Perseus swoops down to unchain Andromeda, and they fly away to live happily ever after.

The constellation Cetus the sea monster can be found basking on the shores of Eridanus, the river constellation. Look for a group of stars that look like a recliner chair to the right of Perseus and below Pegasus. What about Pegasus? Tune in next week...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Andromeda the Chained Maiden

Where we left off in our Fall Star Saga...

King Cepheus, as punishment for his wife Cassiopeia's vanity, just agreed to chain his only daughter Andromeda to a rock in the ocean in order to appease the sea god Poseidon (see posts below for the full story). Andromeda, quite a beauty in her own right, had no choice but to become a sea biscuit to Poseidon's lurking pet sea monster, Cetus, in order to save her nation from a giant tsunami. The king's men stoically sailed Andromeda to the rock and chained her securely. Minutes later the mighty sea monster emerged from the briny deep. Andromeda screamed! Who on Olympus could possibly save her?!?
Tune in next time for more on the fantastic fall saga.

The easiest way to characterize the constellation of Andromeda is as two long legs. Two stretches of four stars emerge from one corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. In the fall, the
legs jut out to the left of the Great Square and lie almost parallel to the horizon. Dimmer stars above and below the legs mark her arms, but these can only be seen under excellent conditions. The great Andromeda Galaxy can be spied with a pair of binoculars above her right hip.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cepheus the King

Cassiopeia's husband, Cepheus the King, was enjoying a quiet afternoon nap when the great god of the sea, Poseidon strode in to the castle. In a rage Poseidon said, "King Cepheus! Your wife's vanity has gone too far. She has offended the gods and must be punished."

The King, waking up quickly, begged for mercy and eventually moved the god to a compromise. "Being a fair and angry god," Poseidon said, "I will give you two choices for your punishment. Punishment A) I will send down a tremendous tidal wave on your land killing everyone and everything."

"Gulp," said Cepheus. "That's not much of a compromise..."

"Or," the god continued, "Punishment B) take your one and only daughter Andromeda, chain her to the big rock in the sea, and let my sea monster eat her."

Well, Cepheus didn't have much of choice. Either way his daughter was doomed and at least he could save his kingdom for total destruction. As much as it hurt him to do this, Cepheus agreed to Punishment B.

To be continued...

You can find Cepheus tonight high in the northern sky just to the left of Cassiopeia. His dimmer stars look like an upside-down house.

Thanks to Rick Tiffini for his picture of Cepheus.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cassiopeia the Queen

While Perseus was busy chopping off the head of Medusa a beautiful Queen was getting herself and her nation in big, big trouble.

Cassiopeia was thought to be the Queen of Ethiopia (or the kingdom around North-east Africa). She had a bad habit of bragging about her beauty. She believed that she was the most beautiful woman in the whole world - the most beautiful woman who ever lived - and the most beautiful woman that would ever live. And she told people these views about every twenty seconds.

Well one day, the Queen went too far. She proclaimed that she was more beautiful than all of the mermaids in the sea. Now this is no big deal to you and me, but to the god of the seas, Poseidon, this was the ultimate outrage. "My mermaids are more beautiful than that ugly old hag," he said. So Poseidon went to the palace to confront this boastful Queen.

To be continued...

Cassiopeia can be found high in the north-northeastern sky after sunset. Just look for 5 stars in the shape of a squished letter "M". Who's more beautiful?

Who is prettier???


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Perseus the Prince

Let's begin the mighty fall saga with our hero, Perseus.

As the adopted son of a king, Perseus lived the pampered life of a prince. When he turned 18, his father told him, "Okay son, you need to go out and find a job." Well, Perseus thought about this - maybe he could be a banker or insurance salesman - and then it hit him. He wanted the best job in the ancient world... Professional Monster Hunter.

As a son of Zeus, Perseus was buds with the gods they gave him some gifts to help with his new career. From Hephaestus he got a sword that would cut through anything; from Athena, a shield tahat was shinier than any mirror; and from Hermes, winged sandals so he could fly through the air with the greatest of ease. (I think I'll put those on my birthday list this year!)

Anyway for his first monster hunting job he wanted a challenge. Instead of hunting a sassy scorpion or crabby crab, he went after the dreaded Medusa. She was the gorgon-woman who had snakes for hair and if you looked at her you would turn to stone. Whew! She was one tough monster.

Perseus had a plan. He would go to Medusa's cave and set up his shield in the sand. Medusa's reflection, although still ugly, wouldn't turn you to stone. When Medusa came looking for Perseus he watched her in the shield until she got closer... and closer... until she was right next to him. Perseus pulled out his sword and "THWACK!" chopped her head right off! He closed his eyes, picked up the head, and put it in a bag. You never know when it might come in handy. Then he put on his winged sandals and flew back home. But this is not even close to the end of the story.

You can find the constellation Perseus in the northeast sky after 9pm. He is shaped like a letter "K" and if you have a really good imagination you can still see the bloody, severed head of Medusa in his left hand.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Get Ready for the Huge, Fall Sky Saga

Whenever I think of the fall sky, I think of one of the best myths ever. It involves so much of the sky and so many constellations that it is huger than huge. I mean this story includes a king, a queen, a prince, a princess, two monsters, and a flying horse! Are you old enough to remember the mythologically accurate movie - complete with the best clay-mation available in 1981: Clash of the Titans.  I wanted a flying horse!

And the myth never died - they made a remake in 2010 without the clay-mation (that was a little less impressive, IMO). 

So buckle up and get ready this month for the great fall sky saga...

Monday, October 3, 2011


This Saturday is International Observe the Moon Night - that means amateur astronomers around the globe will be setting up telescopes in public places.  If you're walking around in a busy place and you see a telescope on the street corner, don't be afraid.  Amateur astronomers are gentle and friendly creatures who only want to share their love of astronomy with you.  No need to approach with caution - just walk over and ask politely to see the Moon.

This is the perfect week to watch the Moon right after sunset.  When people see the Moon in a telescope their eyes light up. My favorite reaction comes from a 4th grader who did a double-take while looking through the eyepiece. “Man,” he commented, “the Moon sure got beat up!”

Peak in Tycho's Crater
Scarred with millions of craters, the Moon displays a violent past of meteoric impacts.  The most prominent crater, located on the southern half, is best seen at full Moon. The dynamic rays of crater Tycho radiate over 1,000 miles from its dark rim. Tycho is the newest, large impact with a diameter of 50 miles. The crater floor is almost 3 miles deep and features a central mountain peak over a mile high.

Most craters are best seen when they are located near the terminator – the line separating the illuminated from the dark surface. Just south of the center of the Moon you will find three dramatic craters named Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus, and Arzachel. With binoculars and telescopes, these crater walls can be seen with amazing contrast and clarity when the Moon is halfway lit up.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Click for a "Supergiant"
Hey there Star Gazers...

I just finished filming the last classic Jack Horkheimer, Star Gazer episode.  This will air on the last Monday in September.  It's been a lot of fun filming down in Miami, Florida, standing and sitting on Jack's "light beam" and pointing out the stars and constellations.  So far I've filmed six months of shows.  But the best is when I'm sitting above red supergiant stars like Antares.  Keeps my feet warm!  You can watch my episode about the Milky Way on youtube.  Just right click and open this link in a new window: 

Star Gazers
I'm happy to say that Star Gazer will continue - just in a new format.  It'll be called Star Gazers featuring me and James Albury from the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium.  We'll be filming these shows in three weeks and they'll start airing at the same time, same channel, new website, on October 3.  We'll also be joined by Marlene Hidalgo who will be doing some of the online programs.  I got a preview of the new opening for Star Gazers and IT IS AWESOME. 

A huge thanks go to Jack and everyone at WPBT2 in Miami for continuing the tradition.  Can't wait to begin the next generation of Star Gazers.  Keep looking up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


 A enigmatic structure appeared suddenly yesterday at the Cincinnati Observatory.  It appears to be a recreation of the famous Stonehenge monument except made entirely out of... boxes.  Was it made by a race of Celtic giants?  Is it Alien in origin?  What civilization could've produced such a thing?  And for what purpose? 

Experts believe that the structure is ceremonial in nature and would draw crowds to witness celestial events.  A "Heel-box" was also erected at the precise place where the Sun would rise from the site on the summer solstice.  This display of astronomical knowledge demonstrates an advanced understanding of the heavens, but beyond a calendar what other mysterious uses does Boxhenge serve?  Cincinnati Observatory staff will continue to examine the site for more clues... 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Corona Bowl-ealis - The Northern Bowl

Ancient Greeks believed Corona Borealis to be the beautifully jeweled crown given to Ariadne after she was dumped by Theseus. But the formation of stars is so distinct that many other cultures saw different images in this region of the sky. For example the Australian Aborigines thought this constellation was a boomerang flying through the heavens. In a Native American legend it is the cave where the great bear lives. And at different seasons it looks like either a smile or a frown.
The Shawnee Indians saw the seven stars of the crown as seven beautiful maidens. One story tells of a brave hunter named White Hawk who was resting in a clearing one warm summer day. He was jolted awake by a giant silver basket descending by a silver cord from the clouds. Upon closer inspection, White Hawk noticed that the basket was occupied by seven stunning young women. When the basket touched the ground, the maidens stepped out of the basket and danced wildly in a ring. White Hawk watched from a good distance but crept closer. He was so enthralled that he wanted to ask the most beautiful maiden to be his bride. But when he approached, the women jumped into the basket, pulled the silver cord and flew back into the sky once more.
The next day, White Hawk returned to the same clearing at the same time. This time he disguised himself as a rabbit in the hopes of getting closer to the babes. Sure enough, the basket with the women descended again to the ground. They danced. He hopped closer (as a bunny)... but the disguise didn't work. The women jumped back into the basket, pulled the cord, and flew skyward. "Drat," White Hawk said.
So he tried it again the next day - this time disguised as a mouse. And for some strange reason, maybe his costume was better, maybe he was mousy already, the disguise worked. He scurried up to the seven maidens and grabbed the fairest of them all, and carried her away. White Hawk is represented by the bright star Arcturus, while the fairest of the maidens is brightest star in the Northern Crown, Alphecca.
The name Alphecca comes from an Arabic word meaning, "Bright one of the Dish." This refers to the Arab vision of this as a dish or bowl. Thus I call it "Corona Bowl-ealis." It's all a matter of perspective.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


 Great news!  I have been selected to be the permanent co-host of the new Star Gazers TV show!  The Star Gazers will feature me and astronomer James Albury from the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida on your PBS stations and online.  We will continue the tradition of Jack Horkheimer's Star Gazer and let you know "What's Up" in the night sky as well as demo new graphics and effects that will take you the edge of the universe, explain the workings of the heavens, and have you back in time to step outside and see it all for yourself.  Star Gazers will debut on October 4, 2011.    

In the meantime, I filmed classic Star Gazer episodes for July and will be back on in September as well.  To see the one-minute and five-minute shows for this week entitled "Planets, Planets Everywhere," right click on the links below and select, "Open in New Window"

For the archive of past shows, please do the same for Jack Horkheimer's page:

Keep looking up!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More About Virgo

Spica is the real star of Virgo. Her rising marked to official beginning of Spring and the planting season. She has been called the "Queen Star of the Spring," and the "Star of Prosperity," but literally means "Ear of Wheat" which Virgo is holding in her left hand. The Egyptians built many temples to Spica's movement. At key times in the year, the light of Spica would penetrate deep shafts in these temples like in that Indiana Jones movie. The star is a brilliant blue-white in color and lies 260 light years away - or 1,508,000,000,000,000 miles! It is a binary star - meaning it is really two stars revolving around each other.

Vindemiatrix is the second brightest star lying north of Spica. Vindemiatrix means, "Grape Gatherer" because it rises in the morning before the time of the vintage. The star lies 100 light years away and is a yellow giant.

Near Vindemiatrix rest many galaxies. Look a little to the right of Vindemiatrix with a large telescope and see what you can find. One of the largest galaxies around is called M87 and is located in Virgo. The Hubble Telescope caught this picture of it with a jet of material streaming out. To many astronomers this indicated the presence of a super-massive black hole in the center of M87


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Virgo the Maiden

As Spring turns to Summer, the constellation Virgo reclines in the south after sunset. Virgo is lying on her back holding an ear of wheat in one hand and a dove of peace in the other. It's difficult to make out her silhouette in the sky - many of the stars are dim, and really don’t look much like a maiden. But her brightest star, Spica (pronounced SPY-ka), makes up for this obscurity. Spica is one of the most beautiful blue stars and easy to locate.

First find the Big Dipper in the northern sky. Trace down the arc of the handle and continue that curved line out in the sky. This should take you to a very bright, vaguely orange star called Arcturus. Now straighten out the line a little more and continue it until you hit Spica farther in the south. And there is Virgo. There is a catchy saying to remember all this. "Follow the arc to Arcturus then hit a spike to Spica." All right, it’s not that catchy...

The majority of the cultural myths - from Greece to India - describe Virgo as a maiden, virgin, or symbol of purity, innocence, and justice. The ancient Greeks likened her to the daughter of Zeus and the goddess of justice. She lays in the sky next to another zodiac sign, Libra the scales to mark her association with the scales of justice.

The ancient Egyptians thought Virgo represented the great goddess Isis. Isis had an ear of corn in her hand instead of wheat. Isis was the creator of the Milky Way, the band of fuzzy stars that form the heart of our galaxy, when she was up in the sky. One day, Isis was chased by a monster just as she was about to eat some corn. In the chase, she dropped the corn which scattered around the dome of heaven making the Milky Way - or should I say, "The Corny Way."

The Milky Way - Rightclick to open in new window
The Arabs initially included Virgo in a giant Lion constellation and some called it the Barking Dogs, but many groups seem to have changed it to conform with the Greek myths. Virgo is "Al Adhra al Nathifah," the Innocent Maiden.

And in India, the Hindus believe Virgo to be Kanya, the maiden and mother of the great Krishna.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Finding Direction - Your North Star

 Let's say you're lost (on a mysterious island or in the city). What do you do?  The stars can guide you my friends...

Although the Little Dipper is faint, and the Little Bear is dim, this constellation holds the most famous star in the sky. Polaris, also known as the North Star, is the guide of travelers, stargazers, and all-around lovers of the night. Polaris is the star on the end of the Little Dipper's handle or the Little Bear outrageously long, stretched-out tail.

Contrary to popular opinion, the North Star is NOT the brightest star in the sky. In fact it ranks about 48th in brightness. Through the city haze, it is just barely visible.

The best way to find the North Star is to use the brighter stars of the Big Dipper to guide you. Follow the two stars at the end of the Big Dipper's spoon (named Merak and Dubhe) and they will point you to Polaris. This is called the "Pointer Star Method" and can help you find your way around many parts of the sky - even over to Cassiopeia.
Around Cincinnati the North Star is always about halfway up in the sky. Now that you can find the North Star, you'll never be lost again!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Dean with the 4-meter
Last week I visited Tucson, Arizona for an astronomy conference called Project Astro.  As part of the conference I had the pleasure of visiting the National Optical Astronomy Observatory on Kitt Peak.  But there is not just one dome and one telescope atop this mountain - there are 19 optical telescopes and 2 radio telescopes which dot the top of the ridge over 6500 feet above sea level. 

As part of the tour I saw their largest scope, the Mayall 4 meter.  The researchers were getting ready for a night of observing but were nice enough to show how the roof opened and rotated and even moved the telescope down to where we could see the huge mirror.  It was a little eerie how quiet everything moved.  Seeing a hundred ton object moving silently toward you was like watching a building lean over.

Looking up the solar tunnel

I also got to see inside their great solar observatory, the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope.  This odd-shaped building was designed to capture and analyze sunlight and I was able to peer down the tunnel that continues into the mountain itself.

Reaching new heights
Finally when I returned to Cincinnati, we needed to do some maintenance to our dome.  It seemed so much smaller than the domes at Kitt Peak so I volunteered to climb up.  I'll tell you, it was a real rush sitting atop a dome with 1/16 of an inch of steel holding me above the old telescope (and the hard flood below).  The life of an astronomer - travel, adventure, and a little danger too...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Canis Minor, The Little Dog

Canis Minor is, perhaps, the lamest constellation in the sky (although Antila the Air Pump is pretty bad too). This little constellation is supposed to be the little hunting dog Orion brought with him into the sky. But this stellar canine is pretty hard to pick out of the stars... maybe because it consists of only TWO stars. The only dog this resembles is a hot dog!
One of the Little Dog's stars, Procyon, is incredibly bright. Procyon ranks as the eighth brightest star in the sky for one important reason: it is among the closest stars to us. At about 11 light years away, this white sub-giant star has a white dwarf star orbiting it. You can easily find Procyon in the southwestern sky this month about 25 degrees above the brighter nose of the Big Dog (Canis Major) - the star named Sirius.
The other star visible in Canis Minor has the name Gomeisa. Gomeisa is actually a much bigger, brighter, hotter, and more interesting star than Procyon. Astronomers have detected a large cloud enshrouding this star (see picture to the right). The name Gomeisa is a shortened version of a longer Arabic word meaning "The Little Bleary-eyed One" (or "Bleary-eyed Woman" depending on your translation). Another myth said this was the star left behind by Sirius and Canopus (a bright star below the southern horizon) and still cries in the sky. Okay, I think I'm more likely to see a little dog in this constellation than a single, solitary, crying star.  But maybe that explains the cloud!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sirius Mysteries

No Dog Days Yet
Sirius the Dog Star is the brightest star in the nighttime sky. It has fascinated people around the globe and plays a prominent role in cultural myths. To the Egyptians it was worshipped as the "King of Suns," who based their calendars on its movements. The rising and setting of Sirius told the Egyptians when to plant, when to harvest, and when the Nile typically flooded. The phrase "Dog Days of Summer" originates in the ancient Egypt. During the hottest part of summer, the Sun stands high in the sky. And even though they could not see it, the Egyptians knew that Sirius was also nearby the Sun during the day. They claimed that the presence and brilliance of Sirius added to the intensity of the Sun's heat.

In Hindu mythology, Sirius was a hunter. This hunter was the father of 27 daughters represented in the 27 phases of the moon.

The Finnish poet Topelius wrote a poem hypothesizing that two stars fell in love and became one - he turned out to be correct Sirius has a small white dwarf companion circling it, Sirius B
which orbits Sirius every 50 years.

Two controversies surround Sirius. Ancient Greek texts claim that Sirius is a bright red star. In actuality Sirius is shimmering white. Did Sirius change colors over the years? Did the Greeks get this wrong? Was Sirius lower in the sky and therefore appear more red? We may never know.

The second controversy involves the mythology that the Dogon people of West Africa had about Sirius. According to French anthropologists who first met this tribe, the Dogon had a special reverence for Sirius and developed many unique rituals around this bright star. The Dogon legends say that aliens from Sirius visited their people 5,000 years ago. They perform a celebration every 50 years in honor of their alien visitors. Why every 50 years? The aliens told them that where they come from they have 2 suns, a smaller one that orbits the larger one every 50 years. It turns out that modern astronomy proved the existence of a smaller companion star (Sirius B) that orbits the main star (Sirius A) every... wait for it... 50 years! So the question still remains, were the Dogon really visited by aliens from Sirius or were they just given inside information from aliens from France?

Look for Sirius in the southwestern sky this March and April.

Sirius Aliens?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Leo the Lion

Spring has sprung in Cincinnati and we can finally focus on the constellations of spring.

The first of the major spring constellations, Leo is recognizable by the six stars which form his head shaped like a backwards question mark - also called the sickle or fishhook. The bright star Regulus is the dot in the question mark and designates this King of the Beasts. The back end of Leo is marked by a triangle of stars - the farthest east being his tail, Denebola.

In Greek mythology, Leo may represent the Nemean Lion which ravaged the Mediterranean countryside long ago. The boldest, bravest hunters were sent out to kill Leo but faced a nearly immortal enemy. Leo had an impenetrable hide. When the hunters shot arrows at the lion, they just bounced off. When they tried stabbing him with the sharpest swords, no cuts could be made.

Hercules comes on the scene to kill the lion as the first of his twelve labors. This is where he shows that he has some brains (unlike the dimmer Orion). Hercules stalks after the killer beast and, at the most opportune moment, leaps onto Leo’s back wrestling him about the neck. Using his mighty muscles, Hercules squeezes and squeezes until Leo the Lion is strangled to death.

But Hercules isn’t all muscles. If you ever see pictures drawn of Hercules, you may notice his un-stylish clothing. After killing the lion, Hercules decided to keep Leo’s hide as a bullet proof jacket. Now he could walk down the street - and people would be shooting arrows at him or throwing knives - without fear. It was grrrrrr-reat.

Question from a smart second grader in the planetarium: “If Leo’s hide could not be cut, how did Hercules make it into a suit?”