Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Precession of the Pole Stars

I have been studying the 26,000 year cycle of the northern pole star and mentioned it in a discussion with Chatte-Georgiana on the Astrodienst forum.  The image below (wayy below.... after the two charts) occupies too many bytes to post on the forum so I’m posting it here. 

And there is one other problem.  It is a wide image that extends into the margins of the blog, so I have placed it way down on the page where the blog margins are empty.  Scroll past all these filler images and chit chat to get to the dark sky main event. 

These charts are just filler.  The one above is for the sky here in Raleigh this morning ….and the one below is for the same ‘time’ in Bucharest.  Chatte does not actually live in Bucharest, but she does live in a town on the Danube River.  I think that is so cool.  I don't remember much about her chart.  I think she was born the year they tore down the Berlin Wall, which is when Uranus was coming up to meet Neptune in Capricorn and Saturn was also coming through.  That is about as historic astrologically as the Uranus Pluto conjunction during the American war in Vietnam.  Anyway Chatte has her Moon in Capricorn right near that historic conjunction so it is not surprising that she is fascinated with the history of her country.  She has Sun, Venus and Mercury in Aries in the 6th house of apprenticeship which is associated with courageous study.  I'm just writing whatever comes to mind here to fill up the page.  

I decided to make this post when Chatte-Georgiana mentioned that she was curious about the term Draconic because of the dragon and wolf iconography used by the Thracian (or is it Dacian) army battling the Roman Empire.  I talked about why the Moon's north node is called a dragon's the Moon weaves above and below the ecliptic like a Chinese Dragon.  The north node is called the Dragon's Head and precesses (moves backward around the zodiac) in an 18+ year cycle.    

But it got me to thinking about the precession of the north celestial pole due to a similar phenomenon and how that goes around the constellation Draconis. 

I did not circle the Sun to call attention to it like I usually do.  I’m just trying to get to the main event here.  For newbies interested in making sense of the above charts the Sun is the circle with the dot in the middle.  In the chart for 9:45am in Raleigh the Sun is in the top left quadrant, while in the chart for 4:45pm in Bucharest the Sun is in the top right quadrant.  Note that universal time (a fancy version of Greenwich Mean Time) for both charts is the same …….13:45.  In other words it is actually 1:45pm in England but all the clocks say 2:45pm since they use daylight savings time. 
Ok.  Enough drum roll….Now for the pole stars.  Or not stars.

The yellow mark with the faint slash is near Polaris, our current pole star.  It just so happens that we are living in the only period in the extended cycle that has a star at the north celestial pole.  (There is a period when the North Pole traces a small circle around Vega, around -12,000.

There are 26 yellow dots.  I did a Stellarium chart for every 1000 years and put a yellow dot on the first chart to mark the position of the moving celestial north pole.  You can see the circle is kind of wobbly, obviously the work of an amateur, but it was a fun meditation.  I felt like I was getting a sense of Earth’s tilt shifting over the millenniums as I put those yellow dots on the chart.

Here are some numbers from my notes:
The dot for the hand of Cepheus is from -20,015 which I think is the same as 20,016BC but in this case I don’t reckon a year or two matters.

Cepheus was the king of Ethiopia.  We are looking north at the king of a country well south of Greece and even Egypt.  That is a hint right there- remember this stuff is from the Greeks back before the time of Plato who said the myths of the constellations were actually referring to declinations of heavenly bodies.  I’ll talk more about these cool riddles in a future post.  I keep repeating this over and over again.  I really don’t believe they saw a king sitting on a chair.  I think these stories were part of a memory system to organize the sky and understand the motions of a tilted Earth revolving on its axis in the Milky Way.  I like to start with the hand of Cepheus, or the heart, because that’s where the pole is dipped closest to the galactic plane.
-19,015   Heart of Cepheus
-18,015   Shoulder of Cepheus
-17,015   Beside right ear of Cepheus
-16,015   Crossing toward under side of Cygnus’ wing
-15,015   Just under wing
-14,015   Top of wing of Cygnus
-13,015   Above wing crossing in arc toward toe of Hercules
-12,015  Little over half way to toe of Hercules
-11,015   Just over toe of Hercules
-10,015   Just behind heel of H
-9,015   Almost to kneeling knee of H
-8,015   On kneeling knee
-7,015   Top of Dragons curved tail fur
-6,015   Begin to descend tail of Draconis
I lost the rest of my notes so you’ll just have to extrapolate from there. 

Also I see that the chart above is for 6,015 and shows the pole star returned to the hand of Cepheus.

Here is an image of the south celestial pole’s changing position.  It is even more sketchy and I see now that I stopped before completing the meditation.  Lazy bum.
Ok.  I’m tired and ready to hit the publish button so this will be fast and messy. 
The south pole starts at Omega Carinae in  -20,015 and winds up there 6,015.  Remember I like to start where the pole is near the galactic plane.  There is no standard start place that I know of for this cycle.  Omega Carinae is a faint (3.25 magnitude) star on the keel of the constellation Argo Navis.  The celestial south pole is not marked moving from the stern to bow of the ship. 
The first yellow mark is near the keel of the bow -12,015.
-11,015   Bottom of front hull and wing tip
-10,015   1st hop toward nose of Dorado (the fish)
-9,015   2nd hop
-8,015   3rd hop
-7,015   Nose of Dorado
-6,015   Almost to clock
-5,015   1st clock
-4,015   2nd clock
-3,015   Tail of Hydrus
-2,015   Hop to head of Hydrus
-1,015   3nd hop to head of Hydrus
-15   Cross head of Hydrus toward Chameleon
1,015   Near Octans
2015  2nd Octans

Wow.  That's a wild ride.