Skywatch Monday, October 9

Oct 9, 2017

The old gibbous moon rises shortly before 9 o’clock tonight. It’s in the constellation Taurus the Bull, nearby the star Aldebaran and a little to the east of the Pleiades star cluster. To the Iroquois Indians, this compact group of stars represented seven dancing maidens. At this time of year, the weather often turns pleasant, a respite from the approaching cold weather. The Iroquois said that long ago, there was a village where the people forgot to get ready for the cold times; Harvest Moon came and went, and still they danced and played. When the first frosts appeared, they realized their folly, and called out to the Great Spirit to aid them. Mannito granted them their wish: for ten days summer returned; the people gave many thanks, and prepared food for the winter. But by the shores of the lake, there danced seven sisters, who paid no heed to the others. Faster and faster they danced, until the West Wind took them in his arms and carried them up into the sky, where they became stars – the Seven Sisters we see tonight above the moon.