The winter hexagon is not a constellation but simply an asterism. But when there’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, its summer in the Southern Hemisphere. I find it really unfair for the world to call this set of stars as the winter hexagon. Why don’t call it the summer hexagon? Frankly speaking I feel like being discriminated on belonging from the Southern Hemisphere.
I understand that development in the astronomy field knew its leap in the Northern Hemisphere, but still I am hereby campaigning for a change in the name of this asterism ( I know Asterisms are not even officially recognized names). But the “winter hexagon” It is a complete misnomer. When I first got to see this beautiful set of constellations in its entirety by the seaside, I was feeling hot. One as it was a breezeless night, hot and damp. Secondly for the utter pleasure of being able to identify the hexagon which covered almost ¼ the portion of the sky and being able to identify six constellations in one go. It was awesome.
But Do you Know How to find the winter hexagon?
One could ask it’s already April and the spring is already here, so why talk about the winter hexagon? It’s just because the winter hexagon in a few months would not remain in our skies. During January at dusk I would have to raise up my head towards the zenith to see the Orion as it would highlight our north western skies, but now in April it’s already halfway between the horizon and the zenith towards the west at dusk. And to tell you Scorpion is already on its way. (Hope you know about the Scorpion – Orion saga) So to say in a few months Orion would be no more on the skies. (I would miss Orion a lot)
And as April is here, it would be a lovely time to appreciate the nature in its bloom and a have good time to observe the night sky. No more shivering and complaining about the chilly weather to have a look at the sky (for my friends of the Northern Hemisphere). As for us Mauritians, we have only two seasons per se. Our hot humid summer is already gone and we are slowly entering the winter phase.
So, if you feel being discriminated by pronouncing the Winter Hexagon, (or any other misnamed constellation or asterism) then campaign with me for this misnomer. Together, united we can change the name of this marvelous hexagon to a common name. Because as the saying goes “the sky has no borders, it is for everyone”. (Is it really a saying or I just made it up?). I suppose I got it from The Astronomers without borders. They have their motto as One people, One Sky.
- Constellations: Origins and Now (heavenswithlamps.wordpress.com)
- Constellations: Official List (heavenswithlamps.wordpress.com)
- Asterisms : What? and List
- The Big Dipper is Not a Constellation (todayifoundout.com)
- 3) What causes the Seasons? (curiousmg.wordpress.com)
- What is Starhopping? (heavenswithlamps.wordpress.com)
Hey, Do you see the moon tonite. Isn’t it beautiful? So what are these stars nearby? Or are they planets? The whole week it had been raining. But now, though the sporadic showers we can have a beautiful sky tonight.
Tonight at 11:00 p.m ( local Mauritian Time), in our sky the moon which is in its waxing gibbous phase, is between three stars. The star above the moon is Procyon. Procyon is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor (the small Dog). And below the moon we have two stars Castor and Pollux. These two stars are in the constellation Gemini (the Twins).
Towards the West, you can have a look at Sirius, the brightest star in our skies. Sirius is in the constellation Canis Major (the Big Dog). And towards North West you would have to raise your head to see Mars , a bright looking yellow star in the constellation Leo. Though as I said Mars looks like a star but is not. It’s a planet. So have a look before it starts raining cats and dogs again.
Did you know that in the Southern Hemisphere, the moon passes between the Gemini stars and Procyon once a month? And people living in the Northern Hemisphere will see the moon, Gemini stars, and Procyon in their southern evening sky. They’ll see the scene “upside down,” with Procyon shining below the moon, and Castor and Pollux above the moon?
You still don’t understand? Ok, just do the up-stand position in front of the night sky, you would get the “upside down” scene.