A Sky full of "Birds and Things they Eat"
by Philip Sacco, Lunatic #82
It is Turkey time again. And in celebration of this time of year, I couldn’t resist the urge to create yet another interesting hunt list for the season. How about an entertaining hunt for a common theme of objects by common name, all of which are at least remotely related to birds. I would like to give credit to Harmut Frommert and his web site of deep sky objects with common and uncommon names. He has a good catalog and I drew many of the deep sky objects found in section one from his source at: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am sure that you who have found this website are of the deep sky perversion ....errr.... persuasion.....(hehehe) so with no further delay, delve into these deep sky nasties....
For those just starting their study of the sky...grab a star chart and jump down to the "Birds at Play and Birds of Prey" section and I will entertain you with a sampling of naked eye objects to get you started. That section will be followed by naked eye objects no longer seen or viewed today, and finally you can join your deep sky fiends- errr... I mean friends- on the top of the list to continue the hunt for birds of wonder and the things they eat.
I hope you all enjoy ‘scoping out these beee-uts.....
Well....now that I have you interested....What came first the Chicken or the EGG?!
This is a time old Question, one which has stupefied the staunchest Darwinest, and with that question we will begin our quest for the ‘Birds of the Sky’, for surely without the Egg . . . we wouldn’t have the Birds . . . ENJOY!
Now that we have a sky full of winged beauties.....they need to eat! Let’s now take a look at the lower end of the food chain and see if we can grab some ‘Grub’...and just as we must have an egg to have a bird...we have to have a .......welllllll your just going to have to see where this section begins!
This next section is the Primer for those new to Astronomy or having a penchant for the Astronomy of old....LORE and MYTHOLOGY. It serves as a primer to the theme and will hopefully be found to be educational as well as entertaining. All of these flying animals are naked eye objects and therefor related (at least in my thinking)...
I have included these extinct birds and consumables as they used to be studied in the sky, and it is a sort of history we shouldn’t forget....
What better way to head this list off than MOST APPROPRIATELY with an extinct constellation itself representing the act of extinction (well at least for one poor ‘Fine Feathered Friend’) we have the extinct constellation of ...the envelope please...
Vulpecula cum Ansere-This constellation created by Hevelius represents a Fox chasing a Goose! We know it today as simply Vulpecula the Fox.... so much for the poor GOOSE!! It is appropriately missing....The best Thanksgiving object I can think of...!
Apes-Flamsteed 41,33,35,39 in Aries. A Fly
Apis-Occupied the current position of the constellation Musca A Bee
Felis-Ok, it’s not exactly something eaten by birds, but how do you think the birds became extinct anyway?! Formed by the stars between Antlia and Hydra. A Cat
Gallus-The stars between Argo Navis and Canis Major. A Cock
Leo Palatinus-OK! So its a BIG CAT! He must have eaten BIG BIRDS!
This Imperial Lion was composed of the faint stars between the current constellations of Aquarius and Aquila.
Musca Australis-This title replaced Apis. It is now known as Musca(A Fly)
Musca Borealis- Flamsteed 41,33,35,39 in Aries. Originally known as Apes. The names may change, but the locations are the same.... A Fly
Noctua-On the tip of the tail of Hydra. It occupied the same position as ‘Turdus Solitarius’ A Night Owl
Phoenicopterus-Alternate seventeenth century name for Grus.
Renne (or Tarandus vel Rangifer)-OK...this is again one of my odd-ball-add ons, but I started this list with Christmas around the corner, and everybody knows these guys can fly..... formed from the faint stars between Cassiopeia and Camelopardalis....we have A Reindeer
Sciurus Volans-Two stars in the tail of the present constellation of Camelopardalis. A Flying Squirrel
Solitaire-The 41 stars between the 3rd and 9th magnitude near the tip of the tail of Hydra. This group of stars was also known as Turdus Solitarius and later became known as Noctua. A Solitary Thrush
Any and all of the above subjects could be found among or perched on:
Lilium (Fleur de Lis)-Formed of the four stars north of Aries and which have been placed into the constellation of Apes. A Flower
Robur Carolinum-25 stars including B Carinae. a Royal Oak Tree
Solarium-Found east of Horologium, between the head of Hydrus and the tail of Dorado.......A Sundial (ok maybe more butterflies would be seen here but...I HEARD THAT COMMENT! Watch it Buddy..!)
I hope you have enjoyed this list, and if you note any errors or would like to make any additions such as the coordinates of some of the objects or new objects, feel free to contact me.