Patterns

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Jun 27 20:27:13 EDT 2003


I was having a problem about the Pleiades; Jon explains

>> Or else, pre-telescope, there are six,
>> plus the invisible
>> Electra who hides her head in shame at having
>> married a Mere Mortal, and
>> can't be seen with the naked eye, which always made
>> me wonder how they had
>> known she was there at all in the first place.
>>
>Its not just the Greeks who thought that the
>constellation Pleiades has seven stars when only six
>are normally visible. The Japanese who call the
>constellation Subaru (the car company uses the
>constellation for its logo - with six stars I think)
>also gave it seven stars and there is also an
>Australian aboriginaL myth of seven sisters associated
>with the constellation.  There are suggestions that in
>former times one of the stars may have been brighter.

Coo!  Thanks, Jon!  That's a lot more pattern for my
money than I had any right to expect.  Seven sisters
turning up in two places like that...  Ooooh, I *like*.

How likely, after all, is cultural exchange on the
subject, between the Greeks and the Aboriginal
Australians?   Wow.

Dazed and happy....  Patterns, patterns....

The "the missing star used to be brighter" is nice too
but it doesn't explain why the Greek thing has one of
them present but invisible....  Some astronomer, please
give possibilities?  It flared up (went nova?) and
then vanished?  But then we wouldn't be able to see it
with a telescope later, would we?  And the Japanese
too have a "seven but you can't see one of them" idea...
*do* stars gradually fade, but fast enough for them to
have been visible within living memory?

Drat.  Now I have *another* glorious red herring to go
off after.

(But thanks anyway.)

Minnow


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