Welcome to the precipice of what we all hope to be a better year: 2021!
Our film The Stars at Night, is excited to announce that early in this New Year, we will be interviewing archeologist, author, professor and muralist Carolyn Boyd, learning about her investigation into a people who lived in our Trans Pecos area of Texas 4,000 year ago. Her book, “The White Shaman Mural” describes a culture whose art shows a clear connection with the stars, the night sky, and the movement of the sun and moon as they created ancient paintings in their origin storytelling that can still be seen today.
We wish for you a new year in which you can “Connect with your Cosmos” in those rare occasions when we can find ourselves under a truly dark night sky. And, here is your first opportunity!
For this month's celestial event and story, around the 3rd of January The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak, so hopefully the weather in your area will cooperate and you can enjoy!
The best time to go out and look for Quadrantid meteors will be after the moon has set, when the moonlight won't interfere with your view of the dark night sky. Face toward the northeast between midnight and dawn to see as many as two dozen meteors per hour under dark skies. If you are from the Texas area, the shower will not be visible till just before Midnight, and will remain active until sunrise. The best displays will be shortly before dawn, or 6:50 am CST.
The constellation was left off a list of constellations drawn out by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1922, but because the shower had already been named after Quadrans Muralis, its name was not changed. The Quadrantids is also sometimes called Bootids after the modern constellation, Boötes.
Look toward the constellation Bootes, just above the Horizon. Boötes is identified as a herdsman, but the origin of his name is unclear.
According to space.com, “The ancient Greeks told many myths about the stars of Boötes, including the story of Arcturus, the son of Zeus and Callisto. "People treat the sky like a menu and select patterns that are distinctive, recognizable, and useful. What they choose depends on where they live and what they need," the astronomer Ed Krupp wrote in his book "Beyond the Blue Horizon" (Harper Collins, 1991). "To the Greeks, these stars were better known as the Bear Keeper or Bear Driver, associated with Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the two celestial bears," Krupp wrote. But, to the Mi'kmaq people indigenous to Canada's Maritime Provinces, the stars found in the constellation Boötes also represented hunters chasing a great bear around the northern sky. Unlike the ancient Greeks, the Mi'kmaq saw many hunters in the form of birds within Boötes, each star representing a bird native to their land. Throughout the seasons, the birds pursue the great bear around Polaris in an eternal hunt — symbols of seasonal change and renewal.
Here’s hoping for a year of renewal: one with peace, hope, and health, one in which we can again make more personal connections.
We invite you to support our effort to take young filmmakers to the vast skies of the Big Bend as a part of our film that seeks to ignite night sky storytelling! www.thestarsatnight.org
And, don’t forget to Connect with your Cosmos!