National Geographic : 1943 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine 'FortNorman *Dawson Chesterfiel FortSimpson, .Whitehorse *FortResolutin .Fort Nelson Port Ruper Edmonton oon S1S-^ it a seg FortGeorge Se °kaneBismarck r e~j y Chicago !7 Eureka---Pittsburgh n Frncis no KansasCity. St.Louis Amarillo. ", * Atl Los Angel Ft.Worth* sa - .- Look on This Map for the Latitude of Where You Are-An Aid to Using the Sky Charts To use the sky charts shown on pages 117-128 you need to know the latitude of the place where you are observing. Lines drawn across the map are parallels of latitude. Philadelphia and Salt Lake City, for example, are almost exactly at 40 degrees north latitude. If you do not live in one of the cities shown on the map, choose the one nearest to your own town or location and the latitude will be approximately the same. The sky charts are designed for use in the Northern Hemisphere, between latitudes 30 and 50 north, but have some value beyond these limits. The map has been carried farther south than latitude 30 so that land forms may be more easily recognized. the stars as compass and clock. The ex plorer uses them as an unfailing sky-mark, to fix his position in jungle or waste of Arctic ice. The archeologist, finding on ancient tablets records of eclipses of the sun or certain positions of the planets, can calculate the exact dates when these events occurred. Men Stargazed Before History Began Man's interest in the heavens is older than history itself, as old as the sensation of curiosity. Rude carvings by Stone Age men on the walls of caves in Sweden unmistakably represent the constellation of the Great Bear. The mystery of the starlit sky has ever pre sented a challenge to mankind-a challenge to stretch earth-bound imaginations in an attempt to understand the universe. There are two types of charts accompanying this article, both designed to help the beginner identify the stars and constellations. The twelve maps of the sky, one for each month, depict the changing aspects of the heavens through the whole year, and show the entire sky visible at any one time from latitudes within the Northern Hemisphere. The diagrams show the star groups, or con stellations, on a larger scale, with a superim posed figure of the animal, person, or thing that each is supposed to suggest (pages 100 to 115). My 13-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, as- sisted me in outlining these interesting figures. Accompanying the diagrams are individual descriptions of 53 leading northern constella tions, including most of the stars used in navi gation which are visible from northern lati tudes (pages 102 to 115). The fanciful constellation figures have been designed after careful research in order to show them as nearly as possible as they origi nally were conceived by the ancients, who first imagined them in the heavens. A woman once came to an astronomical observatory with a set of drawings of constella tion figures and asked whether a telescope would help her to see the fine lines of the pictures in the sky! Her mistake seems more understandable when we remember that many constellation pictures show the imaginary figures far more prominently than they do the actual stars that form the "skeletons" of the figures. Sky Was Man's First Picture Book In the drawings accompanying this article, the stars in each constellation are emphasized and connected with lines to bring out the shape and location of each group. The fig ures are sketched somewhat vaguely, forming merely a background for the stars, a chal lenge to your imagination to duplicate the form in your mind's eye as you scan the heavens.