Friday, November 25, 2011

Celestial Owls

Today I have a picture of NGC 457, an open cluster known by two more-evocative names: the ET Cluster, or the Owl Cluster.

NGC 457, the Owl Cluster in Cassiopeia.
Personally I prefer the Owl Cluster because to my eyes I can see the shape of an owl pretty well. Two bright stars fit as eyes, the main body of the cluster serves as its body, while slight concentrations of stars to the sides form the wings.

One interesting fact about owls is that in  many different cultures worldwide owls are considered to be harbingers of ill omen or bad luck. However, the Greeks associated owls with wisdom, so much so that Athena, goddess of wisdom, had the owl as a symbol. Given the classical roots of Western Civilization this idea carried over, and may be part of the reason that the technical term for a group of owls is a parliament.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Think I said something interesting or insightful? Let me know what you thought! Or even just drop in and say "hi" once in a while - I always enjoy reading comments.