Wednesday, 14 December 2016

23.03.2016 Coma Berenices Bis


Comae Berenicis Com Bernice's Hair

The legend about Bernice, daughter of King Magas of Cyrene is a very old one. It was revived in the realm of astronomy by Tycho Brahe in his Astronomiae Instauratae Progymnasmata and has been retained to this day. Bernice, so the tail goes, has her beautiful locks shorn as a sacrifice to Venus in gratitude that her husband Ptolemy returned home safe and sound from the wars. Ptolemy was by no means overjoyed by this act on her part and only after the court mathematician Conon of Samos proclaimed that the gods had put the locks amongst the stars did they become reconciled. Neither ancient legend nor Tycho Brahe could have known that they thus delineated a part of the sky which contains a large cluster of distant galaxies. Coma Bernices is a constellation poor in stars.

Source: Constellations, a concise guide in colour, by Joseph Klepesta and Antonìn Rükl;  copyright 1969 by Artia

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