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Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

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A sun-oriented mound alignment has been discovered here, where the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers join in Illinios. It was a Hopewell Native American site; the culture reached its zenith in the 13th century CE.
Callandish Stones

Standing stones on the Isle of Lewis, northern Scotland, laid out with astronomical significance.

Fourth constellation in our zodiac, Cancer the Crab is relatively small.

Second-brightest star in the sky. Figures in Bushman (San) mythology.

Tenth sign of the zodiac.

Tenth constellation of the zodiac, referred to as Capricorn when discussing signs. Mostly a goat, the creature the stars represent also has a fish's tail.

This constellation is readily identified in northern skies by the tell-tale "W"-shape of its five brightest stars. It is located opposite Ursa Major, across from Polaris. Due to her vanity, Queen Cassiopeia was exiled into the heavens by Poseidon. Her husband was Cepheus and her daughter, Andromeda.
celestial equator

The great circle which represents the extension of the Earth's equator projected onto the sky.

Cepheus was the royal husband of Cassiopeia, and his constellation is located to the west of hers. This constellation's royal connections extend back at least as far as the Mesopotamians, who considered the constellation to be identified with the king of Babylon.
Chaco Canyon

In Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, a roofless kiva (Casa Rincañada) dating from the eleventh century and built by the Anasazi, is aligned so as to recieve midsummer light.

The Chumash Indians of the Sierra Madre mountains (Southern California) created pictographs and other rock art with possible celestial motifs. Alignments at Condor Cave indicated they marked the solstices.

Usually appearing as a hazy object possessing a roundish "coma" or head, and typically a short tail. Essentially they are flimsy objects with eccentric orbits around the Sun which probably usually have an icy core. Comets were heraled by many as portents or omens.

An arrangement of stars deemed by viewers from various cultures to be a picture in the sky.

A complex of temples dating from the Incan empire, in Cuzco, and named by the conquering Spaniards "Templo del Sol". Temples were dedicated to the Sun, Moon, Stars, Thunder, Rainbow, and the Creator god. It is probable that solar observations were obtained here.

The outermost portion of the Sun's atmosphere; it is best viewed during a solar total eclipse.

The constellation of Cygnus is a dominant feature of the northern skies in the northern hemisphere on summer evenings. It resembles the swan for which it is named. The core stars form what is also known as the Northern Cross. Its dominant star is Deneb.
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Created by Searles and Deborah O'Dubhain,
Copyright 1996 by The Summerlands, Inc., All rights reserved
Page last updated:
08/30/98 03:56 PM

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