Astro 2

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This motion, of course, is simply the result of Earth’s rotation around its pole. Because Earth’s pole happens to point toward Polaris (it has to point somewhere in space), the whole sky appears to wheel around that star. You can dramatically reveal this motion using a typical 35 mm camera and 400-speed film. Simply place the camera on a stable surface or mount it on a tripod, focus on Polaris in the viewfinder, and open the shutter for a half-hour or so. When you develop your film, you’ll see colorful concentric star trails centered on Polaris.

This subtle motion is superimposed on the not-at-all subtle effect of our rotating planet, which makes the Sun appear to move from east to west in a span of several hours. * Contrary to what you may think, the Sun’s apparent motion against the background stars is not decisive proof of Earth’s annual revolution. A similar eastward drift of the Sun would be seen if Earth resided at the center of the solar system. More conclusive evidence is observed in the slight shift in the positions of the nearest stars relative to the more distant ‘fixed’ stars at six-month intervals.

To acquire greater mobility, Erichthonius devised the chariot. Zeus was so impressed with the boy’s ingenuity that he placed the inventor and his invention in the sky. The saga of Myrtilos, however, is a rather sordid tale of betrayal and hapless love worthy of a Shakespearean drama. In short, Myrtilos, son of Hermes, was a charioteer who betrayed his master King Oenomaus of Pisa on behalf of the king’s daughter, the beautiful Hippodamia. The tragedy was set in motion when word reached King Oenomaus that an oracle had predicted Hippodamia’s husband would be responsible for the king’s untimely death.

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