Thursday, June 28, 2012


The constellation Libra is up in the sky after dark... but where? 

It's a small constellation with mostly dim stars so it's hard to find.  The easiest way to do it is to find the zodiac constellations that are bracketing it: Virgo the Maiden on its right, and Scorpius the Scorpion on its left.

Virgo is recognizable by her bright blue star called Spica.  Spica is below a yellow "star" of similar brightness.  That star is really the planet Saturn.  Maybe Virgo is like Lady Justice holding the nearby scales?  She must have some good balance because Libra is at her feet!

Libra and Scorpius have a long history.  In fact, the two brightest stars in Libra (Zubenegenubi and Zubeneschemali) mean the "Claws of the Scorpion."  And it makes sense since the Scorpion's head, heart, body, and stinger are in the stars.  Why not some claws?  Plus I like to say "Zubenelgenubi," and Zubeneschemali!" 

Libra is the only non-living thing in the zodiac.  Since the zodiac means, "Ring of Animals," it definitely stands out.  Try to find the scales tonight in the southern sky after dark.

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