Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to You!

Today is Cathy's birthday. That means she gets a new official birthday star, eta bootis, the southeasternmost visible star in Bootes. Also known by its Arabic name, Mufrid or Murphrid, eta bootis is one of a somewhat unusual breed of "super metal rich" stars, which means pretty much anything but hydrogen and helium. Muphrid has a metal abundance about twice that of our sun. It is surrounded by a corono nearly twice as hot as that of the sun.

It is the third brightest star in Bootes.

There are a lot of mythological stories about the origins of Bootes, the Plowman. One is that Zeus raped Callisto, a nymph who ran with Artemis. And that when she gave birth to Arcas, Hera found out and got all, like, "Hey! You been running around on me or what?"

And when Hera tried to kill Callisto and Arcas, Zeus caused a mighty whirlwind to take them into the sky. Other stories involve Artemis killing Callisto, and, again, Zeus sorrowfully sending her into the sky.

Anyway, my sister, Mary, also has a birthday coming up, and her birthday star is some nondescript star in Draco. Mine, meanwhile, is Caph, the upper right star marking the W of Casseopeia.

Your birthday star is, of course, the star whose light began its journey to earth on the day you were born. Look it up if you're bored:

So happy birthday to my little sister, who was born when I was 18. She is the funniest one of us all, and the reason this blog is so wonderful.

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