african constellations

african constellations插图

Can you see the constellations from South Africa?

We can see most of them either fully or partially from South Africa. But 6 of these constellations are true northern hemispheric constellations. They cannot be seen in their entirety by South African observers (except maybe some in the Limpopo!). Be sure to observe them when you visit the countries of the northern hemisphere.

What are some of the most interesting facts about constellations?

Ursa Major (The Larger Bear) – One of the oldest constellations, numerous legends associated with it. Ursa Minor (The Little Bear) – Named Arcas in legends, following its mother through the sky. – You might have heard about a star pattern called “ the Big Dipper ”.

What is the name of the Ursa Major constellation?

Ursa Major (The Larger Bear) – One of the oldest constellations, numerous legends associated with it. Ursa Minor (The Little Bear) – Named Arcas in legends, following its mother through the sky.

What Constellation is the Big Dipper?

Ursa Major (The Larger Bear) – One of the oldest constellations, numerous legends associated with it. Ursa Minor (The Little Bear) – Named Arcas in legends, following its mother through the sky. – You might have heard about a star pattern called “ the Big Dipper ”. Where is this pattern exactly?

What did the Xam Bushmen believe?

While the /Xam Bushmen believed the stars were formerly people, some !Kung Bushmen taught that stars are, in fact, small creatures, and look like tiny porcupines – they have little legs, ears, teeth and are covered with tiny spines.

What is the most obvious feature in the night sky?

The Moon. The Moon – iNyanga to the Xhosa and Zulu, Nwedzi to the Shona and Venda, and Ngwedi to the Sotho and Tswana – is probably the most obvious feature in the night sky, because of its size, brightness, and changing appearance (phases). As the Moon orbits the Earth it goes through a sequence of phases, from New Moon (invisible) to crescent, …

Why do kung bushes think the sun is dead?

The Nyae Nyae !Kung Bushmen think of the Sun as a “death thing” because of its searing heat and the association with thirst, hunger, and exhaustion. The /Xam Bushmen would ask the Sun, early in the morning before they set out to hunt, to steady the hunter’s arm when aiming at game.

Why did the first Bushmen throw his head up into the sky?

So one day, out of desperation, the First Bushmen chopped off his head and threw it up into the sky so that his light could be shared with everyone. On rare occasions, the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, resulting in a solar eclipse. If the alignment is exact, then the entire Sun is momentarily blacked out.

How did the Milky Way come to be?

In /Xam Bushmen star lore, the Milky Way was created by a girl of the ancient race who scooped up a handful of ashes from the fire and flung it into the sky. This made a glowing path along which people could see the route to return home at night. She also threw bits of an edible root into the sky, the old (red) pieces creating red stars and the young (white) pieces creating white stars.

What is the sky made of?

A wide-spread African concept is that the sky is a solid dome, perhaps made of blue rock, resting on the Earth, upon which the Sun moves. The traditional Tswana idea is that stars are holes in the rocky vault that is the sky.

Why was the moon placed in water?

In the old times, it was said, the Moon was one of the leather sandals of the Mantis-god /kaggen. The sandal was placed in water to soften it somewhat, but this angered the water spirit who then froze the water, locking the sandal in ice.

What is the northern pole star?

Many other legends from many cultures are told about this specific star pattern. – Another well-known object in the northern hemisphere is the star called “ Polaris ”, (alpha Ursa Minoris). This star is also known as the northern pole star. Polaris is situated only 1 degree from the real northern celestial pole.

What is Ursa Minor?

Ursa Minor (The Little Bear) – Named Arcas in legends, following its mother through the sky.

What is the name of the giraffe in the Northern Hemisphere?

Be sure to observe them when you visit the countries of the northern hemisphere. Their names are: Camelopardalis (The Giraffe) – Named the ‘camel-leopard’ by the Greeks. Cassiopeia (The Queen) – In mythology, queen of ancient Æthiopia, wife of Cepheus and mother of Andromeda.

How far is Polaris from the North Pole?

Polaris is situated only 1 degree from the real northern celestial pole. If you draw an imaginary line from the middle of the North Pole (by thus extending the axis line) straight into space, it will point to the north celestial pole.

How many constellations are there in South Africa?

There are altogether 88 official constellations. We can see most of them either fully or partially from South Africa. But 6 of these constellations are true northern hemispheric constellations. They cannot be seen in their entirety by South African observers (except maybe some in the Limpopo!). Be sure to observe them when you visit …

How many stars are in the Big Dipper?

It consists of a group of 7 stars situated in the constellation of Ursa Major. It is also known as the “Plough”. One Native American legend sees the Big Dipper as seven hunters pursuing a bear. The early Britons imagined the Big Dipper as the chariot of King Arthur.

Which hemisphere is the description based on?

Descriptions are based on evening observations, for the southern hemisphere and more specifically for Southern Africa.

Why did the bushmen see the clouds?

The bushmen saw the clouds as a pair of celestial steenboks, perhaps due to their diffuse nature rendering them hard to see under less than perfect conditions, in the same way that the diminutive steenbok prefers to remain hidden. Others saw the testicles of a great lion!

What do the stars of Crux represent?

The most common interpretation in southern Africa is that the four brightest stars of Crux are a herd, or ‘journey’, of female giraffe and the two Pointer Stars (Alpha and Beta Centauri) represent a pair of giraffe bulls in hot pursuit. Another version of the story sees the cross as symbolising the head of a giant giraffe (due to the diamond shape), with the Pointers as its neck. Some Bushmen tribes believed that the stars of the cross are a pride of lionesses, along with their young cub (Epsilon Crucis) and the Pointers embodying their two pride males following close behind as they prowl towards the horizon.

What are the two galaxies of the Milky Way?

When looking directly south on a clear night, two imperfections stand out against the clarity of the darkness. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are sister galaxies of the Milky Way, locked in a gravitational war with us, and each other. They are named after the great Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who documented the ever-present clouds during his circumnavigation of the globe in the early 1500s.

How did people start to understand the cyclical nature of the heavens?

People quickly began to notice the cyclical nature of the heavens, and with that came the concept of time. Of course, modern-day timekeeping was a long way off. Still, by recognising the positions of various celestial phenomena, it soon became apparent that recurring weather conditions and temperatures could be predicted with a reasonable amount of accuracy. This knowledge could then be used to anticipate vital information on animal movements based on rainfall, as well as fruiting times of the local flora. By the age of the pastoralists, this knowledge would prove invaluable for farming activities.

Why is the moon associated with reincarnation?

Due to the repetitive phases of the Moon and its seemingly regular regeneration, much African folklore found it synonymous with reincarnation and recovery. This belief was honoured by the Bushmen during their hunting trips, trusting that if one looked at the Moon after shooting their quarry with a poison arrow, it would allow the prey to recover and escape.

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How long does it take for the Moon to go through its full cycle?

As it takes approximately 29 days for the Moon to go through a full cycle and return to the same phase, these phases have also been used for millennia to mark the passage of time. The ‘Ishango Bone’, found in the former Belgian Congo, is a baboon fibula decorated with various etchings that indicate its use as an ancient lunar calendar. Scientists estimate that it is over 35,000 years old!

What are the women of Africa’s sky?

Women of Africa’s sky are magical goddesses of creation, and also women who have suffered or been punished, showcasing the breadth of human experience. As astronomers, we too often neglect the history of the field of astronomy and the rich cultural heritage of the sky, especially from a non-Western perspective.

What is the significance of women in Africa’s sky?

Women of Africa’s sky are magical goddesses of creation, and also women who have suffered or been punished, showcasing the breadth of human experience.

What is the interloper in the Pleiades?

The interloper is actually the planet Venus. (Figure 3 from today’s paper.)

What are some examples of female celestial bodies?

Female animals appear in constellations, such as female giraffes in Crux and a female steenbok as the brightest star in Pavo in G/Wikhwena San culture. The Tuareg of the Sahara consider Polaris (the pole star, which appears stationary in the sky) to be a Black woman, who keeps still for fear that the other stars will kill or enslave her. For the |Xam people of South Africa, a girl creates the Milky Way by throwing ashes and roots into the sky. In Ancient Egypt, the sky goddess Nut “swallows the Sun ( Re) every night and gives birth to him in the East every morning” and her daughter Isis (the star Sirius) follows her husband Osiris (the constellation Orion) across the sky to put him back together after he was killed. Isis (and earlier Hathor) were both associated with the star Sirius and served as mother/female goddesses. Lastly, such as in the Akan of Ghana, many important ancestral women are said to have come down from the sky, giving them authority as they are “of the land that they now occupy.”

What is the name of the goddess of the Pleiades?

The Arimi of Tanzania named the Pleiades “Kiimia” and considered her to be the supreme wife and mother, with her return in September marking the end of the dry season. Her characteristics signalled the ideals for women in their culture, such as caring for people and offering water to those in need.

How many stars are in the Pleiades?

The Pleiades are a tight cluster of stars, brightly visible in the night sky. There are 6 main stars (with an occasional seventh interloper, Venus) and are often considered a group of sisters or sometimes a clutch of eggs.

What is the name of the star that appears stationary in the sky?

The Tuareg of the Sahara consider Polaris (the pole star, which appears stationary in the sky) to be a Black woman, who keeps still for fear that the other stars will kill or enslave her. For the |Xam people of South Africa, a girl creates the Milky Way by throwing ashes and roots into the sky.