Friday, May 7, 2021

Birds and Stargazing

 From Space:

Like many people staying home during the coronavirus pandemic, I have recently gotten into a new hobby: bird-watching. Last fall I set up a bird feeder in my backyard and immediately became fascinated by the number of different avian varieties attracted to it. When I identified a red-bellied woodpecker using a pocket guide on birds, I think I became almost as excited as when astronomer Leslie Peltier identified his first star, Vega, using Martha Evans Martin's classic work, "The Friendly Stars."

And it was while doing some bird-watching that I began to consider the number of birds that are constellations. I later looked it up and found that there are nine birds in our night sky. Besides the two most noteworthy, Cygnus the swan and Aquila the eagle, there's a dove (Columba) and even a mythological Phoenix, which dies in a show of flames and combustion, only to come alive again from its ashes. (Read more.)

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