Memorials Stars

Memorials Come In Many Forms Including The Taj Mahal, A Local Park Bench, And Your Grandfather’s Gravestone

Since we just celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, let’s discuss how we memorialize special people. Memorials come in many forms including granite soldiers, towering obelisks, historic buildings, roadside crucifixes, memorial bridges, stars in the sky, and no end of scattered mementos. Some of them were left by ancestors for reasons that may be obscured by time. 

Webster defines memorial as something that keeps remembrance alive or commemorates. Memorials are an important part of every culture. They allow people to remember a deceased loved one or an important public figure. Memorials have existed in every culture for thousands of years. For examples the Taj Mahal, Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, and the Great Pyramids were created in the loving memory of great leaders and unforgotten heroes. It is only due to memorials that even today we are able to remember the people who were important in our lives, from Parents to Presidents and show our respect to them.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was unveiled in 2011 and was the first memorial of this kind to honor an African-American leader. The design of the monument was inspired by King’s words, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” It’s located in downtown D.C. and represents the struggle for equality, freedom, and justice.

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Martin Luther King Memorial

The Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. Construction took over 20 years and cost the modern day equivalent of U.S. $1 billion. The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor.

Crosses are the principal symbol of the Christian religion, recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. The cross is thus a sign both of Christ himself and of the faith of Christians.

Have you or a friend lost a loved one and you want a way to commemorate them? A fast and easy way to remember a special friend or loved one is to name a memorial star after them. Any time you miss them, just glance to the sky and know that they are watching over you.  This also makes a great gift for those around you who may be hurting. You can even remember a furry friend with a pet memorial.

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Constellation Taurus The Bull Known For Over 15,000 Years

Symbolism: Bull. It has been associated with the bull in many cultures and mythologies: Greek and Egyptian among others, and even going back to Ancient Babylon.

 Mythology: Taurus is the second sign in the zodiac and represents those born from April 20 to May 20. In Greek mythology, Taurus is usually associated with Zeus, who adopted the shape of a bull in order to seduce and abduct Europa, the beautiful daughter of the Phoenician King Agenor. Zeus mingled with the king’s herd and, being the most handsome bull there, he got Europa’s attention. The princess admired the bull and, when she sat on his back, he rose and headed for the sea. Zeus carried Europa all the way to the island of Crete, where he revealed his true identity and lavished the princess with presents.

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Gilgamesh Faces The Bull

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest literary works from Mesopotamia, Gilgamesh faces the Bull of Heaven sent by the goddess Ishtar to defeat the hero after he had rejected her advances.

When is it visible? The bull passes through the sky from November to March, but the constellation is at its most visible in January. 

 How to find it? Look to the south, find Orion, his belt points to Taurus.

History:  One of the oldest constellations. First catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century, but has been known since the Bronze Age. Michael Rappenglück of the University of Munich believes that Taurus is represented in a cave painting at the Hall of the Bulls in the caves at Lascaux dated to roughly 15,000 BC. Taurus contains the Crab Nebula, which is an expanding remnant of a supernova event observed in 1054 AD by Japanese and Chinese astronomers and most likely Native Americans.

You can give a star to a friend or loved one in the constellation Taurus at Name a Star.

December 2021 Stargazing – Meteor Showers, Planet Alignments, And A New Comet

If you can stand the cold, December could be the best month of the year for stargazing. We better start with the planet Venus, because it won’t be back in the evening sky until December 2022.

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New Comet Leonard Courtesy Jim Wakefield

Get out of bed early (3:30am – 5:30am) on the mornings around Thursday, December 9 to see Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard), a new comet discovered in January of this year. It is located one-third of the way up the eastern sky, near the circle of stars that form the head of Serpens Caput (the Snake’s Head). You may need binoculars for a good view.

After enjoying a December sunset, turn around and face east to take in what S&T columnist Fred Schaaf calls a “tower of brilliance” that starts near the horizon and climbs all the way to overhead. Start low down by finding Orion. To its left are the twins of Gemini, anchored by the stars Castor and, below it, slightly brighter Pollux. That’s the general area from which the Geminid meteors will seem to originate as they zip across the sky.

The Geminids peak on the night of Monday, Dec. 13 into the early hours of Tuesday, Dec. 14, but it is not just the onslaught of meteors that make this event so popular. This is one of the few annual meteor showers that is active in the earlier evening hours, making it great for younger stargazers. Best time to view Geminids may be after the moon sets around 2am. Lie flat on your back with your feet facing south and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors.

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Bright Venus Aligned With Saturn And Jupiter Courtesy Starry Night

Venus, Saturn and Jupiter will be visible after sunset in the southwestern sky and will all appear bright enough to see without the help of a telescope. Saturn is the dimmest of the three and will be sandwiched between Jupiter and Venus. Between Dec. 6 and Dec. 9, the crescent moon will appear close to the planets, but on Dec. 10, it will align almost perfectly with the planets not long after nightfall.

Possibly the best day of the year for skywatchers is the winter solstice, which occurs at 10:59 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Dec. 21. The longest night of the year. A great Christmas gift for the stargazer on your list is their very own star from Name a Star.

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2021 Sky-Watchers Gift Giving Guide

Looking for a unique 2021 Holiday gift for someone special? Check out the ideas below for the stargazer  from beginner to advanced and young to old.

father-son-telescopeDreaming of becoming an astronaut, but currently a couch potato?  You could start that special person with a good pair of binoculars. If they are ready for a telescope, don’t waste your money on one that is difficult to assemble or too complicated. Here is a list of quality telescopes ranging from $100 to $2,000.

Don’t be confused by terms like focal length, aperture, reflector, and refractor. A reflector telescope uses mirrors and a refractor telescope uses lenses. A Catadioptric telescope combines the best of all of these features.

There are even travel telescopes, so stargazers can take passion with them. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to set up. If the recipient lives in an apartment or space is at a premium, then this may be the best choice for them.

A gift of the stars is a great way to involve kids in science and a hobby that could last a lifetime. Get t the whole family off the couch  with the book 50 Things To See With A Telescope.

Not all gifts need to be wrapped. Why not plan an entertaining, yet educational group activity, like learning why the moon has craters? Make a dough out of flour and oil, then drop pebbles on this “moon surface” to see what kind of craters they make.

If your loved one has all of the gear they need, then take them on a dark sky vacation. One of the newest dark sky locations is in Name a Star’s backyard at Prineville Reservoir. Whether it is a visit to your back yard or a trip to Oregon, get outside to enjoy the night sky.

If you really want to send that special person into space, name a star after them. Name a Star offers a variety of Holiday gifts. You can even put a special message on the certificate of registration letting them know what a special friend they are.

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Cygnus The Swan Constellation Seduces Across Ancient Greek, Hindu, and Chinese Mythologies

Symbolism: Cygnus The Swan

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Cygnus Constellation From SkySafari App

Mythology: In one of several Greek myths, the god Zeus disguises himself as a swan, then seduces Leda, the Spartan king Tyndareus’s wife. She gave birth to two sets of twins, the immortal Pollux and Helen, who were fathered by Zeus and the mortal Castor and Clytemnestra, who were fathered by Tyndareus. Castor and Pollux are represented by the zodiac constellation Gemini.

In Hinduism, the period of time (or Muhurta) between 4:24 AM to 5:12 AM is called the Brahmamuhurtha, which means “the moment of the Universe”; the star system in correlation is the Cygnus constellation. This is believed to be a highly auspicious time to meditate, do any task, or start the day.

In a Chinese myth, the Goddess of Heaven discovers that Niu Lang and Zhi Nu are lovers. Zhi Nu is a fairy, and is therefore not allowed to be with a mortal man. The Goddess creates a river (the Milky Way) in the sky to keep the lovers separated. Once a year on Chinese Valentines Day, all the magpies in the world assemble to help the lovers be together by forming an enormous bridge over the wide river. The constellation Cygnus represents the magpie bridge in this story.

When is it visible? Cygnus the swan is a distinctive cross-shaped constellation best seen during the summer and fall months around September.

How to find it? The constellation is very easy to identify because is it dominated by a large cross-shaped asterism known as the Northern Cross. The bright star Deneb marks the tail of the celestial swan and the top of the Northern Cross. The star is also one of the vertices of the Summer Triangle.

Cygnus is surrounded by Cepheus to the north and east, Draco to the north and west, Lyra to the west, Vulpecula to the south, Pegasus to the southeast and Lacerta to the east. 

History:  Cygnus was first catalogued the by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

According to ancient Chinese astronomy and astrology, the modern constellation Cygnus is located within the northern quadrant of the sky, which is symbolized as the Black Tortoise of the North (北方玄武, Běi Fāng Xuán Wǔ).

Amateur astronomers have made some notable Cygnus discoveries. The “Soap bubble nebula” was discovered on a digital image by Dave Jurasevich in 2007. In 2011, Austrian amateur Matthias Kronberger discovered a planetary nebula (Kronberger 61, now nicknamed “The Soccer Ball”) on old survey photos, confirmed recently in images by the Gemini Observatory.  Only six of the stars in Cygnus have been named by the International Astronomical Union, which leaves the rest of the stars available for you to name at Name a Star!

Why is naming a star with Name a Star a unique gift idea?

Why is naming a star with Name a Star a unique gift idea? Name a star provides the opportunity to name a real star in the sky that currently only has a catalog number. You then customize the gift to honor the recipient on the special occasion. The most popular customization is for you to create a short tribute or message that is printed on the Certificate of Registration. These can be funny, serious, or sad depending on the situation. You can use one of the sample tributes or create your own unique tribute.

Let’s look at some of the creative ideas our amazing customers have come up with to add meaning to their unique gift.

 

Looking_Up_To_The_StarsOne of our favorite birthday messages:

“You Light Up Our Family Like This Star Lights The Sky, Happy Birthday!”

 

How about a romantic message for that special someone in your life?

“Like The Stars, My Love For You Is Burning And Endless”

 

Customers love to choose Name a Star for Anniversaries.

“Now You Can Feel Our Love With Each Glance At The Night Sky”

“Unlike Flowers, My Love For You Will Never Fade Away”

 

Congratulate a new couple with long-lasting, personalized wedding gift.

“Best Wishes For A Long And Happy Life Together”

“Congratulations! May Your Happiness Be As Eternal As Your Star”

 

Many businesses have used Name a Star’s services to recognize star employees or thank their valued customers. Here are a few sample tributes for a business award.

“Thank You For Helping Us Reach For The Stars”

“Climb High, Climb Far, Your Goal The Sky, Your Aim The Stars”

“A Sparkling Performance Deserves A Sparkling Star”

 

You can dedicate a memorial star to a friend or loved one who has passed away.

“Every Time You Get Lonely, You Can Look Up And Know Your Dad Is Always There”

 

As you can see from these sample tributes, naming a star can be very meaningful and specific to the person receiving their unique Name a Star gift.

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Constellation Aquila The Eagle Soars Thru Romantic Stories Of Multiple Cultures

Symbolism: Aquila the Eagle

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Altair, in the constellation Aquila the Eagle, is one of 3 stars in the Summer Triangle. Photo Earth & Sky

Mythology: Aquila represents the eagle, which held Zeus’s/Jupiter’s thunderbolts in Greco-Roman mythology. Aquila is also associated with the eagle that kidnapped Ganymede, a son of one of the kings of Troy (associated with Aquarius), to Mount Olympus to serve as cup-bearer to the gods.

In another story, the eagle is found guarding the arrow of Eros (represented by the constellation Sagitta), which hit Zeus and made him love-struck. In yet another myth, Aquila represents Aphrodite disguised as an eagle, pretending to pursue Zeus in the form of a swan, so that Zeus’ love interest, the goddess Nemesis, would give him shelter. In the story, Zeus later placed the images of the eagle and the swan among the stars to commemorate the event.

The name of the brightest star in the constellation, Altair, is derived from the Arabic al-nasr al-ta’ir, which means “flying eagle” or “vulture.” Ptolemy called the star Aetus, which is Latin for “eagle.” Similarly, both Babylonians and Sumerians called Altair “the eagle star.”

In Hinduism, the constellation Aquila is identified with the half-eagle half-human deity Garuda.

In Japan Vega is sometimes called Tanabata (or Orihime), a celestial princess or goddess, who falls in love with a mortal, Kengyu (or Hikoboshi), represented by the star Altair.

When is it visible? The constellation Aquila, the eagle, is visible in the northern hemisphere from July through October.

How to find it? In the east after dark on these summer evenings, look near the horizon for Altair, the brightest star in the constellation Aquila the Eagle. This is the bottom star of the Summer Triangle; that is, it’s the last of these three bright stars to ascend over the horizon. It is located along the Milky Way.

History:  Aquila was one of the 48 constellations described by the second-century astronomer Ptolemy. It had been earlier mentioned by Eudoxus in the fourth century BC and Aratus in the third century BC. Aquila contains the Glowing Eye Nebula (NGC 6751), which is a planetary nebula made famous when its image was chosen to commemorate the Hubble’s 10th anniversary.

 Only eight of the stars have been officially approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which leaves all of the rest of the Aquila constellation stars to be named as gifts at Name a Star.

Learn How Different Cultures Have Contributed To Naming The Stars In The Sky

The names of stars come from many sources that vary in different regions of the world. Many cultures have rich histories of naming stars for mythology, agriculture, timekeeping, and navigation. Some of the most notable ancient cultures to catalog star names are Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, Polynesian, Persian, Indian, Babylonian, and Native American.

The Chinese inscribed star names on tortoise shells and were the first to record a super nova. Early Polynesians were highly skilled wayfinders who sailed thousands of miles over open ocean navigating by the stars. Egyptians created the modern calendar to predict the annual flooding of the Nile river. Halleys Comet has been noted by many cultures including the Babylonians in 164 BCE.

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Ancient Arabic Star Catalog

Ancient Native Americans did not leave catalogs of star names, however they did leave behind rock art, pottery, and architecture indicating that they were studying the night sky long before the voyage of Columbus. The Indus Valley Civilization of India used advanced mathematics and astronomy in 800 BCE to properly place religious altars. A Persian astronomer in 894 AD built a giant sextant to measure the axial tilt of the earth. He discovered that the axial tilt is not constant but is in fact currently decreasing.

Most of the names of stars used in the west come from ancient Greek astronomy. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the only internationally recognized authority for assigning star names and surface features on them. So far the IAU has only approved a few hundred historical star names. The rest of the stars just have numbers.

In 1978, the founders of Name a Star developed a way for anyone to show their love and respect to others by assigning the names of loved ones to stars – stars that are otherwise listed as numbers in astronomy catalogs. Name a Star – The Original Star Naming Service – Since 1978® became the world’s first star naming company.

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Discover The Risqué Stories Behind Delphinus The Dolphin

Summary: Delphinus is both  a fun summer constellation and a racy character in mythological Greek stories of seduction and betrayal.

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Symbolism: Dolphin

Mythology: There are two myths associated with the constellation Delphinus. According to the first, Greek god Poseidon wanted to marry Amphitrite, a beautiful nereid. However, wanting to protect her virginity, she fled to the Atlas mountains. Poseidon then sent out several searchers, among them Delphinus, the dolphin. Delphinus accidentally stumbled upon her and was able to persuade Amphitrite to accept Poseidon’s wooing. Out of gratitude, the god placed the image of a dolphin among the stars.

In the other myth, it was Apollo, the god of poetry and music, who placed the dolphin among the constellations for saving the life of Arion, a poet and musician, whose skill with the lyre made him famous in the 7th century BC. Arion was sailing back to Greece after a concert tour of southern Italy when the sailors who were also on the ship started plotting to kill him and take the money he had earned. The sailors granted Arion’s wish to play his lyre one last time. The music drew several dolphins to the ship. Arion jumped overboard. One of the dolphins saved him and carried him all the way back to Greece. Later, Arion confronted the sailors and had them sentenced to death. In this version of the myth, Apollo placed the dolphin next to the constellation Lyra in the sky, and Lyra represents Arion’s lyre.

When is it visible? Delphinus is visible all summer and reaches it peak in late August.

How to find it? Look for a dim triangle with a tail, high in the south to southeast. Once you find it, you will remember it, since Delphinus truly looks like a dolphin. One of our favorites, because it reminds us of all of the fun summer watersports. Delphinus is among five small Summer Triangle constellations: Lyra, Vulpecula, Sagitta, Delphinus and Equuleus.

History: It is one of the Greek constellations, first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy of Alexandria in the 2nd century CE. The stars of Delphinus were also cataloged in Chinese astronomy, Polynesian culture, and Hindu astrology.  Only 5 of the stars in the Delphinus constellation have been named by the IAU, which leaves all of the rest of the Delphinus stars to be named as gifts at Name a Star.

Father’s Day Stargazing Gift Guide

Looking for a unique Father’s Day gift for a man with his head in the stars? Check out the ideas below for the stargazing dad from beginner to advanced.

father-son-telescopeWould dad like to get a closer look at the stars without becoming an astronaut? You could start him out with a good pair of binoculars. If dad is ready for a telescope, don’t waste your money on one that is difficult to assemble or too complicated. Here is a list of quality telescopes ranging from $100 to $2,000.

Don’t be confused by terms like focal length, aperture, reflector, and refractor. A reflector telescope uses mirrors and a refractor telescope uses lenses. A Catadioptric telescope combines the best of all of these features.

There are even travel telescopes, so dad can take it with him. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to set up. If you live in an apartment or space is at a premium, then this may be the best choice for dad.

We are talking about Father’s Day, so let’s get the kids involved. Dad and the kids can have hours of fun with the book 50 Things To See With A Telescope. You could also plan a fun group activity, like learning why the moon has craters. Make a dough out of flour and oil, then drop pebbles on this “moon surface” to see what kind of craters they make.

If dad has all of the gear he needs, then take him on a dark sky vacation. One of the newest dark sky locations is in Name a Star’s backyard at Prineville Reservoir. Whether it is a visit to your back yard or a trip to Oregon, get outside to enjoy the night sky.

If you really want to send dad into space, name a star after him. Name a Star offers a variety of Fathers Day gifts. You can even put a special message on his certificate of registration letting him know what a special dad his is.

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