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Constellations



Thoughts to be read by one of the leaders:

For thousands of years, people have gazed at the night sky with wonder and awe. As they studied the patterns of the stars, the early sky watchers drew imaginary lines from star to star, outlining the shapes of objects, animals, and gods. Some of their names for these constellations are familiar to us today.

Stonehenge, a ring of mammoth boulders built several thousand years ago on the plains of Southern England, may well have functioned partly as a prehistoric observatory used to record important positions of the sun and moon, and perhaps even to predict eclipses. Some Egyptian pyramids were erected with features in line with certain stars, as were some of Central America's Mayan Temples.

Even though most celestial features are far more permanent than terrestrial ones, our point of view is constantly moving, and thus different star charts are necessary to reflect the appearance of the sky overhead at different hours of the night and during different seasons of the year. The center of each chart usually corresponds with the zenith of the sky (the point directly overhead), and is marked with a small cross. The horizon, that line where the sky appears to touch the ground, is the circle bordering each chart.


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