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September 29.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Shohini Ghose

September 29, 2011  When you look up at the stars you look out through a layer only about 100 km deep  With the naked eye, we can see more than 2000 stars plus the milky way  Ancient civilizations named groups of stars called constellations  Names were based on ancient heroes, gods, animals, shapes, and mythology was associated with them  Many star patterns recognized today originated 5,000 tears with the Babylonians, Egyptians and later the Greeks  In 1928, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) established 88 official constellations with clearly defined permanent boundaries that together cover the entire sky  Just like a map of the earth is divided into countries, a map of the sky is divided into constellations  A constellation now represents not a group of stars but a section of the sky – a viewing direction  Any star within the region belongs to only that one constellations  The sky also contains some star groupings called asterisms  Example: o Big dipper in the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear) o Great square of Pegasus  The brightest stars in a constellation may actually be quite far away from each other Constellations:  Most constellations are made up of stars that are not physically close to one another  Some stars may be moving in different directions Star Names:  Most individual star names derive from ancient Arabic, Greek, or Latin, altered over centuries  Examples: o Sirius: Greek meaning “gl
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