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Discussing: Stars and constellations in M-e

Stars and constellations in M-e

Can anyone tell me where in the night sky over Numenor Eärendil's star (Gil-Estel) would be seen?

Írimon, who would take the throne as Tar-Meneldur because of his love for star-lore, would be knowlegeable about the other stars as well and I want to include a meaningful cameo for him in my Father's Day challenge story, so information on any of the stars and constellations that would be visible on a summer's evening/night would be helpful.

Thanks!

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Stars and constellations in M-e

Venus is always seen either in the western sky for an hour or so around and shortly after sunset, or in the eastern sky before sunrise. (Actually, that's not completely true, you can spot it during the daytime, too, if you know exactly where to look - but it's faint then.)

As for summer constellations; there are over two dozen of them! It would help to narrow things down if you could say about what time in the night your characters would be looking at the sky, and in what direction they'd be looking.

Ithilwen

 

 

Re: Stars and constellations in M-e

Venus is always seen either in the western sky for an hour or so around and shortly after sunset, or in the eastern sky before sunrise.

I should have remembered this. Thank you. Only problem is it won't fit the story as I have it at the moment - or the title either!

Of course that's what beta is for - I'd rather change the title than mess around with the position of the Star of Hope.

I had late night into early morning in mind - so Gil-Estel would be in the east, right? *sigh*

I should have paid closer attention to my father's lectures on the star fields - aside from Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Orion I'm never quite sure about the constellations, or in which season each can be seen.

Thanks for the reminder on Venus (the Morning star of course!) - I had completely forgotten that it is the real world equivelent of Gil-Estel. But didn't Tolkien himself have it appear in the West, even in the morning? I seem to recall something about that when the Edain were led to the newly created Numenor.

This has me slightly confused.

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Stars and constellations in M-e

Well, Tolkien has Venus being a ship flown by Earendil, so it CAN move around at need (like in the Numenor story). But the real-world planet is always seen in either the western or eastern sky (west at sunset, east at sunrise); and certainly by the Third Age Gil-Estel seems to be behaving more like the modern planet than like a guy sailing around in a heavenly ship! So you're pretty much stuck with having your characters seeing it around sunrise in the east or near sunset in the west.

As for constellations, as I said before: if you'll tell me what tome of year, time of night (after midnight, it sounds like?) and the direction your characters are looking, I'll suggest some constellations they could plausibly see.

 

 

Re: Stars and constellations in M-e

certainly by the Third Age Gil-Estel seems to be behaving more like the modern planet than like a guy sailing around in a heavenly ship!

What about in the Second Age? The story is set during the reign of Tar-Elendil (story set somewhere between SA 603 and SA 625). That's not all that long after the founding of Numenor, so is it at all possible that Gil-Estel could still be seen in the western sky in the wee hours of the morning, after midnight but well before dawn? I know I'm reaching here...

As for the constellations, I hadn't definitely picked which month, only that it would be summer - probably after the midsummer celebration of Erulaitalë

I've been poking around a couple of the links suggested in the Stargazers story discussion, but my knowledge is so limited in not certain what to look for.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to try to help me with this. I should study up on this anyway, but for now I just need enough to make the story not sound implausible.

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Stars and constellations in M-e

Nessime wrote:

What about in the Second Age? The story is set during the reign of Tar-Elendil (story set somewhere between SA 603 and SA 625). That's not all that long after the founding of Numenor, so is it at all possible that Gil-Estel could still be seen in the western sky in the wee hours of the morning, after midnight but well before dawn? I know I'm reaching here...

Definitely reaching, I'd think, having Gil-Estel still moving around so freely more than 600 years after Earendil took to the skies. But I suppose it could be plausibly argued that it could still occur if the reason for Earendil deviating from his usual course was important enough; that, of course, is for you to decide (and then convince your readers of!).

As for the constellations, I hadn't definitely picked which month, only that it would be summer - probably after the midsummer celebration of Erulaitalë

I've been poking around a couple of the links suggested in the Stargazers story discussion, but my knowledge is so limited in not certain what to look for.


This link might help: Sky and Telescope Website. It has an interactive sky chart which offers you a ground-level perspective of the sky in any direction at any hour, as well as the more usual overhead map. Pick a date in mid-summer, and enter latitude 40° 00' and longitude 00° 00' for the location, choose Greenwich Mean Time for the time zone, and don't check the Daylight Savings Time box; you can then use the chart to give you a good idea of what constellations will be visible from any particular direction at any time of the evening (from the sounds of things, you'll want what's up after local midnight).

Feel free to let me know if you need more help!

Ithilwen

 

 

Re: Stars and constellations in M-e

This link might help: Sky and Telescope Website. It has an interactive sky chart which offers you a ground-level perspective of the sky in any direction at any hour, as well as the more usual overhead map.

Thanks so much for the link to this site, Ithilwen! I have followed your directions - thankfully you gave idiot proof ones - and I came up with three constellations that would be seen in the western sky around midnight on a midsummer night:

Bootes (the star Arcturus is at the center of it), Coma Berenices, and a portion of Virgo, with the star Spica showing just above the horizon.

I wanted to check the site listed in resources, The Astronomy of Middle-earth but the link doesn't seem to be working right now. I'll keep trying as it's possible it's only temporarily unavailable.

What I want to find out there is whether or not the above mentioned constellations or stars have any relation to any of those named by Tolkien.

If anyone knows this information off hand I would dearly appreciate having it.

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Stars and constellations in M-e

I'm fairly sure the Astronomy of Middle-earth site's unavailability is merely temporary; it was working fine the other day when I checked the link. If it doesn't come back on-line within a day or two, let me know!

I don't think any of the constellations you mentioned can be linked conclusively to any of the constellation names Tolkien created. However, the names Borgil and Carnil are given by Tolkien to an unspecified red star (or possibly the planet Mars - we really can't be sure which), and Arcturus (the brightest star in Bootes) is orange-red - so you can certainly make the case that it's Borgil! It's what I would do in your situation.

And Corona Borealis would certainly work for some Tolkienesque stories about crowns, if you're feeling creative enough to create a few legends of your own. The constellation definitely has the appearance of a circlet, with it's brightest star (Alphecca) sitting about where you'd expect the gem gracing a real circlet to be located.

Ithilwen

 

 

Re: Stars and constellations in M-e

Thanks!

That information gives me something to work with at least.

BTW I love the link for the sky chart - I will have to make use of it to re-learn what my father tried to teach me before. Then when I visit my parents up in Maine I can impress him with my ability to locate the various constellations - you haven't lived until you've seen the night sky without the ambient light of civilization interferring with the view of the heavens! Stars by the billions strewn across a pitch black canvas! Makes me wish I were a painter...

~Nessime

 

 

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