Category Archives: constellations

Curious about Virgo? Find out the Story behind the Star-Sign and how to Spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

shutterstock_241031443

Virgo Characteristics:  Virgo represents those born from August 23—September 22.   Virgo is the sixth Zodiac sign of the year, right after Leo.

Good Things about Virgo: Observant, precise, reliable.  Very robot like.  Confession, I’m a Virgo…There, I’m finally admitted it!

Bad Things about Virgo: Shyness, critical, tendency to worry. Oh, dear I, err…I mean you Virgos out there are neurotic messes!

Myth and Legend:  The constellation Virgo is associated with many myths, which differ depending on the civilization.  Even in Greco-Roman mythology, this constellation has a couple of different stories.  We’re going to focus on the most popular story, that of Persephone, a beautiful young goddess and the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.

Hades, Lord of the Underworld fell in love with Persephone.  One bright spring day while she was gathering flowers, Hades appeared out of the earth, riding a chariot with four coal black horses.  He charged towards Persephone, grabbed her and placed her in the chariot.  A chasm then appeared in the earth ahead of them and the chariot then plunged back into the underworld.

Demeter, Persephone’s mother, was the goddess of agriculture.  Furious at her daughter’s abduction, she deliberately ruined all the harvests.  Soon the people were starving.  Zeus spoke with Hades about releasing Persephone.  Hades reluctantly agreed, but persuaded Persephone- who previously had not eaten since she arrived in the underworld – to consume a single pomegranate seed.  It was a sly trick on Hades part, as anyone who eats in the Underworld may never leave it! After further negotiation with Zeus, it was agreed that Persephone would spend six months of the year with her mother.  Her mother delighted, would begin the sowing that starts in spring and leads to the summer harvest.  The other six months of the year, Persephone would spend with Hades in the Underworld.  Demeter her mother would go into mourning during this time and so the seasons of fall/autumn and winter came to pass.

The constellation was placed in the sky to commemorate the beautiful young maiden Persephone and explain the story behind the earth’s seasons.

Element Sign: Along with Taurus and Capricorn, Virgo is an Earth sign.  Earth signs are all very dull err…I mean dutiful.  They have a strong sense of responsibility to those around them and are also very reliable.  But before you nod off — when reading about all their stoic qualities —they also have a tendency to be greedy and materialistic.  Us Virgos have a dark side after all!

Glyph:  When I first saw the sign for Virgo, I thought it looks like a fanciful M, maybe meaning maiden?  Well, I was completely wrong.  Apparently, the glyph represents…intestines! Yes, you read that correctly.  The glyph for Virgo— beautiful young maiden— is the organ where all the food is processed! I’ve really no idea how they came up with that one!

fullsizeoutput_3

Constellation: Does the Virgo constellation resemble a beautiful young maiden?  Well you need a lot of imagination to see that.  It mostly looks like a stick figure, stuck in the sky.  But if you draw in some hair and a dress…yeah I can sort of see a young woman now.

 The best viewing time for the Virgo constellation is in May at around 9pm; between latitudes + 80° and – 80° in the northern hemisphere.  If you live in the southern hemisphere, look for the Virgo constellation in the autumn/fall and winter.  Use a star map as a guide and a knowledgeable star gazer to assist you.

VirgoCC

 Extra Fun Fact: Virgo is Latin for virgin.  The Virgo constellation is the second biggest and contains Spica, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

Next Post—Curious about Libra, (September 23 – October 22)?  The Story of Libra and How to spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.  These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space (for children ages 5-9).

Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel to outer space?  For the adventures… of a lifetime!

New Book Two: Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

or

Amazon.co.uk

Read this book and over 1 million other books with Kindle Unlimited.

Book One: Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

kindle cover for upload

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

Or

Amazon.co.uk

Read this book and over 1 million other books with Kindle Unlimited.

 “Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.” —Beautiful Books for Children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curious about Leo the Lion? Find out the Star-Sign Story and how to Spot this Constellation in the Night Sky

shutterstock_191992340

Leo Characteristics:  Leo represents those born from July 23—August 22.   Leo is the fifth Zodiac sign of the year, right after Cancer.

Good Things about Leo: Energetic, optimistic and loyal.  You sound way too good to be true!

Bad Things about Leo: Arrogant, possessive and headstrong.  So, you are too good to be true.  You’re as domineering as…well a lion!

Myth and Legend:   In ancient Greek mythology Leo represents the lion and one lion in particular: The Nemean lion.  This lion was much larger and tougher than a normal lion.  For it was also the child of two monsters; Typhon and Echidna.    After eating lots of people in Nemea, the famous Greek hero Hercules (Heracles) was ordered to kill it, as the first of his twelve labors.

Unfortunately, the Nemean lion had an incredibly tough hide, so normal arrows and spears simply bounced off its’ golden fur.  Hercules overcame this problem with his legendary strength.  He first wrestled, then strangled the lion.  He later wore the animal’s skin as a cloak.  Its special fur helped to protect him from other dangers.

It was later placed in the sky by the Gods, because the lion was considered king of all the beasts on Earth.

Mosaico Trabajos Hércules (M.A.N. Madrid) 01

Hercules slaying the Nemean lion.  Roman mosaic Lliria, Spain: Credit Wikipedia

Element Sign: Along with Aries and Sagittarius, Leo is a fire sign.  Fire signs tend to be extroverts, sociable and enthusiastic.  So far so good, but wait for it…you’re crazy drama queens as well!

Glyph:  The Leo glyph can at first sight look like a mad scribble.  But this scribble has deeper meaning—apparently.  The circle to the left of the glyph symbolizes completion and unity, traits important to a Leo—see loyalty above.  The swirl on the right represents both the flowing mane and then the curling tail of this great cat.

0b6570524f59a2f3215883052360581c

Constellation: The Leo constellation is a big improvement on many other star clusters, in that the body of the constellation actually does look like a large cat resting. The head however is another story.   Where’s the lion’s majestic profile and magnificent mane? This head is more hook than handsome. In fact, the whole Leo constellation honestly looks more like a coat hanger, than the mightiest of the beasts.  But as constellations go—I have to admit —it’s more realistic than most.

When can you see the Leo constellation in the night sky? Well it’s easier to spot than most, due to the body of the constellation looking like—a big cat!  The best viewing time is in April at around 9pm; between latitudes + 90° and – 65° in the northern hemisphere.  If you live in the southern hemisphere, look for the Leo constellation in the summer and autumn/fall. As always use a star map as a guide and a knowledgeable star gazer is a big help.

LeoCC 

Extra Fun Fact: Leo is Latin for lion.  And did you know that lions used to live in Greece?  Yes, until about 100BC, when they became extinct!

Next Post—Curious about Virgo, (August 23 – September 22). The Story of Virgo and How to spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

 Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.  These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space (for children ages 5-9).

Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel to outer space?  For the adventures… of a lifetime!

New Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage:  Book Two

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

or

Amazon.co.uk

Read this book and over 1 million other books with Kindle Unlimited.

Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace:  Book One

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

kindle cover for upload

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

Or

Amazon.co.uk

Read this book and over 1 million other books with Kindle Unlimited.

 “Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.”Beautiful Books for Children

 

 

 

Curious about Cancer the Crab? Find out the Story behind the Star-Sign and how to Spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

shutterstock_191992532

Cancer Characteristics:  Cancer represents those born from June 21—July 22.   Cancer is the fourth Zodiac sign of the year, directly after Gemini.

Good Things about Cancer: Loyal, emotional and tenacious.  Just like a sheepdog!

Bad Things about Cancer: Moody, suspicious and insecure.  So basically you’re cute, but crabby!

Myth and Legend:   As usual we turn to the Greeks for the myths behind the cancer constellation.  It starts off with the Greek Goddess Hera, wife of Zeus being… jealous.  Hera spends most of her time on Mount Olympus being jealous of someone or other.  It’s her raison d’être.  Anyway this time Hera was jealous of Heracles, (Hercules in Latin) the famous Greek hero and spent a lot of time and energy attempting to kill him.

One of the twelve labors of Heracles, (Hercules) was to destroy the Hydra, a terrifying nine-headed water serpent.  During this battle Hera sent a gigantic crab to help the Hydra slay our Greek hero.  But Heracles (Hercules) was so strong, he crushed the poor crab with his mere foot!  For his loyal —but unfortunate service —Hera placed the crab in the night sky as the cancer constellation.

Element Sign: Cancer is a water sign.  Water signs are supposed to be extremely emotional and sensitive.  And mysterious too, like an ocean apparently, rather than a puddle!   Other water signs in the zodiac are Scorpio and Pisces.

Glyph:  The cancer glyph does not like a crab—at all, or much else.  Personally I think it looks a little like two tadpoles pausing for a chat.  But no, I’m wrong…it’s supposed to represent two breasts, because Cancers are so caring and nurturing…Okay, I’ve looked again and I still think it looks like a pair of tadpoles!

cancer-glyph

Constellation:  the constellation is even worse than the glyph.  Whoever decided this constellation could pass for a crab must have been mad.  Yes, completely stark raving mad! My cat looks more like a crab—well he acts like it occasionally—than the cancer constellation.  At best it looks like a lopsided upside down Y.  That’s about it!

If you want to look for the Cancer constellation the best viewing time is in March, around 9pm; between latitudes + 90° and – 60° in the northern hemisphere.  If you live in the southern hemisphere, look for the Cancer constellation in the autumn/fall.  It’s a dim constellation and can be very hard to see with the naked eye. Use a star map as a guide and the help of an experienced star gazer.

cancer-constellation

 Extra Fun Fact: Cancer is Latin for Crab. It comes from the Greek language originally and it means crabs and crayfish, as well as carcinomas.

Next Post—Curious about Leo, the Lion (July 23 – August 22)?  The Story of Leo and How to spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.  These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space (for children ages 5-9).

Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel to outer space?  For the adventures… of a lifetime!

New Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage:  Book Two

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

or

Amazon.co.uk

Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace:  Book One

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

kindle cover for upload

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

Or

Amazon.co.uk

Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.”Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.”Beautiful Books for Children

Curious about Gemini? Find out the Story behind the Star-Sign and how to Spot this Constellation in the Night Sky

shutterstock_191925125

Gemini Characteristics:  Gemini represents those born from May 21—June 20.  It’ late spring and early summer in our calendar year, but Gemini is the third Zodiac sign of the year, directly after Taurus!

 Good Things about Gemini: Affectionate, gentle, exciting, impulsive.  Hmmm, so you sound like a big fluffy golden retriever.  Not a bad thing to be.  Don’t let the fetch thing happen though!

 Bad Things about Gemini: Indecisive, nervous, flighty and moody.  That’s the other side to you.  So you’re a bit of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character!

 Myth and Legend: Gemini the twins represents Castor and Pollux from Greek mythology.  They had the same mother-Leda-but different fathers.  Pollux’s father was the God Zeus-Jupiter in Roman mythology-yet again!   Castor’s father was Leda’s husband, King Tyndareus of Sparta.  Pollux was immortal, due to the handy fact that his father happened to be a God.  Unfortunately Castor his twin, who only had a king as a father-the poor thing-was merely mortal.

The two Greek brothers grew up to become famous explorers and warriors.  They sailed with Jason in search of the Golden Fleece; the story behind the Aries constellation.  Then they fought in the Trojan War:  Helen of Troy, their half sister had left her husband Menelaus, for Paris of Troy, and the brothers were determined to bring her home.

Tragically Castor dies in the Trojan War.  Overcome with grief, Pollux his immortal twin, pleads with Zeus to let his brother share his immortality.  Zeus responds by placing the twins in the night sky as the Gemini constellation.

Element Sign: Gemini is an air sign.  Air signs are thought to be abstract thinkers and intellectuals.  Other air signs in the zodiac include Libra and Aquarius.

Glyph:  The Gemini glyph does not look like a pair of twins, no matter how hard you squint.  But the symbol does make some kind of sense, as it represents the number two—in Roman numerals!

pisces-glyph

Constellation: This constellation looks exactly like twins—well if you like twin stick figures drawn by five year olds!  By as stick drawings go, it does resemble two people hand in hand.  The Gemini constellation is unique in the Zodiac, in that two stars make up the twins’ heads. Pollux as the immortal twin has the largest bright orange—cranial — star.  Castor, his mortal brother has a smaller blue white star.

If you want to look for the Gemini constellation, you can see it anytime between January and May.  The best viewing times are January  and February at around 9pm; between latitudes + 90° and – 60° in the northern hemisphere.  If you live in the southern hemisphere, look for the Gemini constellation in summer. Use a star map as a guide and an experienced star gazer to assist you is also helpful.

gemini-constellation

 Extra Fun Fact: Gemini is Latin for Twins.  The heads of the twins are represented by two stars.

 Next Post—Curious about Cancer, the Crab (June 21 – July 22)?  The Story of Cancer and How to spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.  These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space (for children ages 5-9).

Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel to outer space?  For the adventures… of a lifetime!

New Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage:  Book Two

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

or

Amazon.co.uk

Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace:  Book One

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

kindle cover for upload

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

Or

Amazon.co.uk

 “Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.”Beautiful Books for Children

 

Curious about Taurus? Find out the Story behind Taurus and how to Spot this Constellation in the Night Sky

shutterstock_191992697

Taurus Characteristics:  Taurus represents those born from April 20—May 20.  It’ spring in our calendar year, but Taurus is the second Zodiac sign of the year, right after Aries!

 Good Things about Taurus: Responsible, patient, stable, practical, romantic.  So Taureans can be a little dull at times, but that romantic trait comes in and saves the day for you!

Bad Things about Taurus: Stubborn, lazy, materialistic and possessive.  Wow, you are like a bull aren’t you?  A bull that likes shopping!

Myth and Legend: Zeus, leader of the Greek Gods (Jupiter in Roman mythology) fell for a young lady called Europa, a princess of Phoenicia.  In order to attract her attention, he changed form into that of a beautiful, gentle white bull.  Europa petted and played with the kind bull.  Eventually she got on his back and the bull swam into the sea, all the way to Crete (a Greek island).

Once there he revealed his true identity to Europa as Zeus, king of the Gods.  Later to commemorate their story, Zeus recreated the shape of the bull and cast it into the night sky as a constellation—the Taurus constellation!

Element Sign: This star-sign is an earth sign!  The other earth signs are Virgo and Capricorn. Earth signs are practical and rooted to the earth and their surroundings.  They also love shopping! But Taureans can be a bit like King Midas—there’s never enough gold—and we all know how that tale ended!

 Glyph:  The symbol for Taurus is the head of the bull.  And actually it does sort of look like the head of a bull…well if a five year old drew it!  But it’s still a step up from the Pisces glyph!

taurus-glyph

Constellation:  Taurus as a constellation is one of the better ones.  For one thing it’s a huge constellation and like the bull it represents, it charges through the night sky!  It also actually looks like the creature that it represents, that of a bull’s head—although a very skinny bull—making a change from the squinting and active imagination you have to use with most of the other constellations!  If you want to look for the Taurus constellation, it’s best viewed in December and January (between latitudes 40° degrees and longitude 95° degrees west)in the northern hemisphere and early spring in the southern hemisphere. A star map is useful, as well as the help of a knowledgeable star gazer.

taurus-constellation

 Extra Fun Fact: Taurus is Latin for bull.

Next Post—Curious about Gemini, the Twins (May 21 – June 21)?  The Story of Gemini and How to spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.  These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space (for children ages 5-9).

Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel to outer space?  For the adventures… of a lifetime!

New Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage:  Book Two

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

or

Amazon.co.uk

 Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace:  Book One

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

kindle cover for upload

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

or

Amazon.co.uk

 “Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.”Beautiful Books for Children

Curious about Aries the Ram, (March 21-April 19) and its Constellation? The Story of the Star-Sign Aries and How to Spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

shutterstock_191925371

Aries Characteristics:  Aries represents those born from March 21—April 19.  It’s early spring in our calendar year, but for star signs Aries is the first Zodiac sign of the year!

Good Things about Aries: Determined, brave, honest and enthusiastic.  Everything gets done yesterday.  So if you’re a bit lazy, pair up with an Aries and hopefully they’ll do all the work for you!!!

Bad Things about Aries: Aggressive, moody, impatient and impulsive.  So you’re impossible to live with, so if you happen to be an Aries reading this, maybe settle down with just a dog for company!!

Myth and Legend: So what’s the story behind the Aries constellation?  Well, the myth begins with a classic dysfunctional Greek family.  Ino, the evil stepmother of two children – Phrixus and Nelle – decided to sacrifice them to appease the Gods during a long drought; In reality, she just wanted to get rid of them.

Their real mother Nephele – a cloud nymph, which was a career back in ancient Greece -sent a winged ram with a golden fleece to rescue her children.  The winged ram carried the children away.  Tragically Helle fell off the ram and drowned – Hellespont strait is named in her memory.  Phrixus survived the journey, arriving at the court of King Aeёtes of Colchis.  He gave the ram to the King as a gift and ended up marrying his daughter!

King Aeёtes kept the Golden Fleece in a sacred grove, protected by a dragon that never slept.  Now you’ve probably heard about Jason and the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece from Greek Mythology? Well the story ends with Jason, who outwitted the dragon and stole the fleece.  Zeus (lord of the Greek Gods) commemorated Jason’s epic quest by putting Aries the ram up in the sky as a constellation. 

Element Sign: This star-sign is on fire!  Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are the three fire signs of the Zodiac.  Fire signs are well fiery!  They’re also strong and fun.  But sometimes too hot to handle for those close to them!

Glyph:  The symbol for Aries is the ram’s horns and for once the glyph actually…looks like a ram’s horns!

aries-glyph

 

Constellation:  Aries as a constellation is quite the let down.  It looks nothing like a golden fleece, a ram’s head or even a pair of ram’s horns.  At best if you squint, it looks like half a ram’s horn.  Frankly they need to invent another myth about a monster that made off with the other horn!  But, if you’re still interested in looking for this constellation, it’s best viewed in December at 9pm (between latitudes 90 degrees and minus 60 degrees).  There are only three bright stars in the constellation to look out for.  A star map is always very useful, as well as the help of a knowledgeable star gazer.

aries-constellation

 

Extra Fun Fact: Aries means the ram in Latin.

Next Post.  Curious about Taurus, the Bull (April 20- May 20) and its constellation? The Story of Taurus and How to spot this Constellation in the Night Sky. 

Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.  These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space (for children ages 5-9).

Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel to outer space?

New Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage:  Book Two

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

Or

Amazon.co.uk

Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace:  Book One

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

kindle cover for upload

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

Or

Amazon.co.uk

Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.”Beautiful Books for Children

 

Curious about the Star-Sign Aquarius, the Water Bearer (January 20-February 18)? How to Spot this Constellation in the Night Sky  

 

Aquarius jpeg

Aquarius Characteristics:

Aquarius represents those born from January 20—February 18.  Despite beginning our year – in astrological terms – it’s the 11th sign of the zodiac.  Star signs are part of astrology, which is not considered a science, but nevertheless are a lot of fun!   However in ancient times, it was taken as seriously as astronomy is today!

 Good Things about Aquarius:

Friendly; intelligent; creative; loyal; independent. You sound like a cat/dog hybrid here. With an artistic flair!

 Bad Things about Aquarius:

Unpredictable; stubborn; detached, extremist and aloof.  You’re sounding more like a cat here!  Hey, are you sure you’re not a cat?

Myth and Legend: 

The ancient Babylonians and Egyptians both recognized this constellation.  Even back then the constellation was thought of as the water carrier.  This may be due to the fact that heavy flooding and rain occurred at the same time as the appearance of the constellation. In Greek mythology, the water carrier’s image became that of Ganymede.  Ganymede was a young man and so incredibly handsome that his beauty even caught the eye of the Gods themselves.  Zeus had him kidnapped by an eagle and brought up to Mount Olympus, where he served as the Gods’official cup bearer.  Nowadays with such looks, you might become a highly paid movie-star or model.  But back in ancient Greece, what did good looks get you?  A career, as  a slave, for all eternity!  And people say the past was better?

Element Sign: Air

Despite the associations with water, Aquarius is actually an air sign, along with Gemini and Libra.  People born under these signs are thought to be creative, intelligent and sociable.  But don’t get too big-headed, they’re just making all  this up!

Glyph:

Each zodiac sign has a symbol or a glyph.  The symbol for Aquarius is water, which is a little confusing as its element sign is air.  But in this case the water glyph below represents the water flowing out of the water carrier.

IMG_2464

Constellation: 

Aquarius can be seen in the southern hemisphere in the spring and the northern hemisphere in the fall.  Use a star map as a guide.  It also helps to have someone knowledgeable with you, to help spot the constellation.  Otherwise, it just looks like a series of random dots in the sky.  Which of course it is!  In the northern hemisphere the best viewing time is October at 9pm.

 IMG_2465

Extra Fun Fact:

Did you know we are currently in the, ‘Age of Aquarius?’ Yes that’s right, it’s supposed to be a hippy dippy age, based on love, unity and integrity.  Mmm, someone needs to tell that to the news!   It’s an astrological age that is based on the precession of the equinoxes.  Each age lasts a few thousand years, before moving onto the next zodiac sign!

 Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.  These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space (for children ages 5-9).

Next Post.  Star Signs: Pisces, the Fish (February 19-March 20).  The Story behind Pisces and how to spot this Constellation in the Night Sky.

Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel to outer space?  For the adventures of a lifetime…

New  Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage:  Book Two

Click below for a preview:

http://amzn.to/25N7oRl

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

 

Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace:  Book One

Click below for a preview:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500496588

kindle cover for upload

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

 

 “Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.”Beautiful Books for Children

Fun Space Facts for Children: Our Star Signs. The Story of Astrology versus Astronomy

shutterstock_436425853

What’s your star sign? You probably already know it depends upon the month you were born.  The star signs rotate through once a year, for a month at a time.  We begin the year with the Water Bearer, Aquarius (January 20- February 18) and end it with Capricorn, the Goat, (Dec 22 – Jan 19).  Right now the zodiac sign is Gemini and will be until June 20.   In the next several posts, I’ll be explaining the fascinating story behind each star sign and how you can look for your star sign – which is also a constellation – in the night sky.  Each star sign has a very interesting history. Do you know that the study of our star signs is called astrology? And did you also know that in ancient times, astrology was considered as important as astronomy is today.  Ancient astrologers mapped the movements of celestial bodies, such as the planets and the constellations.  From this they predicted human events and people’s personality traits; believed to be based on the alignment of the planets and stars at the precise moment of birth.

The Zodiac – which is a name for all twelve star signs – comes from the Latin term Zōdiacus, which in turn comes from the Greek- Zōdiakos Kyklos- meaning  circle of animals: Half of the Zodiac constellations are animals!

Our star signs first came into being thousands of years ago. The ancient Babylonians started to notice how certain constellations rotated around every year.  They started giving names to these constellations. The ancient Hebrews added to this ancient knowledge, as did the Egyptians, then the Greeks and the Romans. The astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy, of ancient Egypt was particularly important in laying the foundations of western astrology.  In the middle ages (roughly 1100 – 1450) astrology and the zodiac signs became very popular.  The star signs even made their way into major works of art like Angers Cathedral in France (see the photograph below).

Astronomy is the scientific study of the universe and everything in it; stars, planets, and galaxies.  Nowadays it’s considered the only true science of space, whereas astrology is not taken seriously anymore.  But many people still enjoy reading about their star signs (or horoscopes, as they are also known) and seeing if the predictions for the coming week will come true or not!

Angers Cathedral the South Rose Window of Christ (centre) with elders (bottom half) and Zodiac (top half). Mediaeval stained glass by Andre Robin after the fire of 1451. Credit: Wikipedia

Angers

Next Post.  Star Signs: Aquarius, the Water Bearer (Jan 20-February 18).  The Story behind Aquarius and how to spot this Constellation in the Night Sky

Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.  These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space (for children ages 5-9).

Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel to outer space?  For the adventures of a lifetime…

New Book Two: Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

or

Amazon.co.uk

Read this book and over 1 million other books with Kindle Unlimited.

Book One: Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

kindle cover for upload

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

Or

Amazon.co.uk

Read this book and over 1 million other books with Kindle Unlimited.

 “Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.” —Beautiful Books for Children

 

What are Constellations? From Star Maps to the Zodiac!

 

ConstellationsNow, you’re probably heard the word constellation mentioned when people talk about the night sky.   But what does that word mean?  Well, constellation comes from the Latin word, ‘constellatio.’  Translated, it means set of stars!  Now if you go back in time, before iPods, iPads video games, face time and Netflix.  Okay, now go back even further, to a time of no TV, no phones…no electricity even!  What did people even do for entertainment back then? Well one popular activity was star gazing.  And without modern light pollution, you could see… a lot. Early civilizations looked at stars and told stories.  Then they began to observe that the same set of stars could be seen at different times of the year, every year.  Some of these constellations became the signs of the zodiac, our star signs.  Different civilizations have different star stories, but here in the west, we are more familiar with the Greco-Roman Stories.

If you want to look for the constellations in the night sky, you’ll need a few things.  A star map for one thing.  If you don’t have one, you can find them on the internet.  Then you need to look at the correct month of the year on the star map.  After that, you’ll need a very dark night sky, (away from light pollution) and good eyesight, or good glasses!

Next try and match the constellations for the month on your star map, with what you see in the sky.  You’re going to have to use your imagination and try to picture lines between the sets of stars, just like on the map.  It’s helpful to have someone with you who already knows a bit about constellations, to help you pick them out.

Behind every constellation, there’s a story.  Below I’ve outlined the myths behind a couple of the constellations.

Perseus

He was a great hero of Greek mythology.  His father was Zeus (Jupiter in Roman mythology) and his mother was Danae.  His most famous feat was the killing of the Gorgon Medusa.  The Gorgon’s face was hideous, her nest a mass of writhing snakes.  And one look from her would turn you to stone.  So capturing her was not easy.  But with a helmet of invisibility, a shield and winged sandals; all gifts from the Gods, Perseus managed to cut off her head.  He then rescued the Princess Andromeda, who was chained to a rock, as an offering to a terrifying sea monster.  After killing the sea monster, he married the princess. When he died, he was honored with his own constellation.

Hercules

The biggest hero of them all was of course Hercules.  His father was lord of the Gods, Zeus himself (Jupiter in Roman mythology) and Alemena was his mother.  Driven mad by Zeus’s jealous wife Hera, Hercules killed many people.  He later made amends for these sins by completing the twelve labors of Hercules.  These included killing the Nemean lion, stealing Cerberus the three headed dog and slaying the Hydra, a many headed monster.  For all his mighty feats, he was rewarded with his own constellation.  This shows him wearing the skin of the Nemean Lion, whilst carrying his club and the stolen three headed dog of the underworld.

Lyra

A small constellation in the northern hemisphere.  It shows the lyre or lyra (a type of small harp).    Arion was Poseidon’s son and a singer and musician: Poseidon was the Greek God of the Oceans.  Neptune is the Roman equivalent.  Such was Arion’s talent, he decided to go to Sicily to compete in a musical competition.  He played the lyre and won many treasures.  On the way home, treacherous sailors plotted to steal all his valuable awards and throw him overboard.  Arion pleaded with them to let him sing and play one more time.  They granted his wish and then pushed him overboard.  Not knowing how to swim, he would have drowned.  But his singing had attracted the attention of one of Poseidon’s dolphins.  The dolphin carried him safely back to his home in Corinth.  In honor of his talent Apollo – the Greek God of the Sun and Music- put the above lyre constellation in the night sky.

Next Post:  Astronomy versus Astrology: How did the Zodiac Constellations become our Star Signs?

Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace,’ and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.’ These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space, (for children ages 5-9).

Ever wondered if aliens exist?  What if one needed your help?  Would you travel into outer space?  For the adventures…of a lifetime!

New Book Two: Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage

Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help.  His sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest.  More items are needed to buy the crystal.  But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens.  Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?

Amelia the Venutons cover with text

“A lively sequel offers a sure-handed blend of fantasy, humor, adventure, and an ingenious heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

5/5 star rating!  “Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage is a wonderful children’s book that will allow your kids to get started in the Sci-Fi genre… The story is intriguing and well thought out. All in all, the author did a great job of creating an engaging story that kept my kids interested. We are definitely looking forward to the next book!”- Examiner.com

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

or

Amazon.co.uk

Read this book and over 1 million other books with Kindle Unlimited.

Book One: Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace

When is a present not a present?  When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto!  Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon.  Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help.  Should Amelia venture into outer Space?

kindle cover for upload

Click below for a preview:

Amazon.com

Or

Amazon.co.uk

Read this book and over 1 million other books with Kindle Unlimited.

 “Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews

The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.” —Beautiful Books for Children