This post is long overdue; it took me a while to get it just right. Apologies for its belatedness. (is that a word?)
In celebration of my recent commitment ceremony with Kat, my good bloggy friend FranIAm was kind enough to give us the gift of a lifetime: a star!
I had always heard about these "name your own star" things and thought it would be cool; Fran must've read my mind or my memory and known how much we both would enjoy this gift.
Our star deed came from the Millennium Chronicle, a company that has a really beautiful logo:
Our star is located in the constellation Aquila--the Eagle--so appropriate for a birder! Its number is 105544 Aquila, and its new name is DeliaKaterina. For you big telescope owners, here are the coordinates: right ascension 20h 00m 54.91s, declination +11 degrees, 43'30.7". It's a Type A3 star, magnitude 8.7; its distance from our planet is unknown -- a fact which blows my mind a little. Man, the universe is a big place.
Here is the position of the constellation Aquila in the night sky (h/t to this site) :
That's Scorpio to the far right, and Pegasus to the left, of Aquila. Our star is just to the left of the brightest star in Aquila, Altair--that one on the left, at the crook there. Here's an easier-to-conceptualize view:
Wow, right? This is an illustration from Bayer's Uranometria (written in 1603!). According to this site, "Aquila flys (sic) across the Milky Way (which runs across the picture from upper left to lower right), the bright star Altair in its neck. The celestial Eagle is shown carrying Antinous, a figure from ancient Roman times, a constellation that is no longer recognized." Our little star would be at the leading edge of his upper wing, right near his scapulars (I think that's what it would be called). BTW, it would suck to be Antinous.
All kinds of interesting documentation came with the star deed, including a map with a circle around the actual speck that is our star. It's awe-inspiring to look up at night sky; as a kid, I dreamed of being an astronaut and an astronomer, travelling the stars and seeing the beautiful things in our universe--the Horsehead Nebula, the Crab Nebula, our own little galaxy. Now when I look at the sky, I will look at the Eagle and think of our little star out there, winking at me, in the remote blackness of space.
Thank you, Fran, for lighting a little candle in my imagination.