Capricornus, traditionally an autumnal constellation, is actually best seen from about August onwards and will remain visible for several more months. It’s not a particularly bright or conspicuous constellation, but it bears the distinction of being a member of the zodiac and so the Sun, Moon and planets all pass through it.
Curiously, many cultures associate the constellation with a goat and this association was thought to have originated in the far east, where the stars represented the nurse of the young sun-god. For me though, perhaps the most interesting association comes from ancient Greece and a group called the Platonists.
This group derived their beliefs from the philosophies of Plato and called Capricornus the Gate of the Gods. They believed the stars formed the gateway of the souls of men as they ascended to Heaven. About a century later, the Greek astronomer Berossus apparently believed that the world would be consumed by water when all the planets aligned in this sign.
(Capricornus is also the first of several watery autumnal signs that will come to prominence over the next few months.)
Fortunately, a global deluge won’t be happening this year as there are no planets currently traversing the constellation. (Unless, like me, you live in Los Angeles and the El Nino predictions are true.)
2015: An Astronomical Year, details astronomical events throughout the year and is available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Sky simulations created using the Mobile Observatory app for Android devices.
2015: An Astronomical Year
|2016: An Astronomical Year||2016: The Night Sky Sights||The Astronomical Almanac (2016-2020)||The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook (Pocket Edition)|
(Kindle & Paperback)
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Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com