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My speech outline done about the constellations.

I thought you might like to see the speech I did about astronomy just last week.


General Purpose:         To inform

Specific Purpose:        At the end of my speech, I want my audience to have a better understanding of the Origins of constellations and more intimate knowledge of a couple of specific constellations.

Introduction:               Who here has ever checked their horoscope or even knows which constellation is theirs in the zodiac? Well a lot of you, like me, may have been checking the wrong one. There are actually thirteen constellations in the zodiac instead of twelve and they pass through the line of the sun at different times then were first generally accepted in astrology. CENTRAL IDEA: Today I will give you some knowledge about the constellations including the new constellation of the zodiac. PREVEIW: First, I would like to give you a short history of the constellations and what they were used for; then I will go over to main constellations; the constellation Ophiuchus of the zodiac and the constellation Orion.

(Transition: Let’s start with a brief history of the origins constellations and why they exist.)

I.                   Origins and Purposes of the Constellations

A.                The Greeks

1.                  Used them to tell stories of their gods and greatest heroes.

2.                  Used as a seasonal calendar

3.                  Used as a navigational device

B.                 The Babylonians

1.                  Made 12 zodiacs for the constellations on the elliptical

a)                  Depending on what constellation the sun is lined up with

(1)               Each constellation of the zodiac given specific attributes to the people born in them

b)                  Incorrect dates

(1)               12 equal slices in sky for zodiac to fit into lunar calendar. Actual 13 unequal slices
(2)               Ophiuchus was left out. Nov. 30-Dec. 17


(Transition: And Ophiuchus is actually the first constellation that I wanted to talk to you about today.)

II.                Ophiuchus

A.                History/ Mythology

1.                  Was a legendary Greek Physician

a)                  Tried to cure the whole world and make mankind immortal

b)                  Zeus got jealous and struck him down

c)                  In the end Zeus honored him by putting him amongst the heavens

2.                  Called the snake holder

a)                  Snake stands for wisdom/ affiliated with Athena

B.                 Notable stars/ Astronomical Facts

1.                  3rd largest constellation in the zodiac behind Virgo and Aquarius

a)                  11th largest constellation out of all 88

2.                  Includes Barnard’s Star

a)                  Only two stars are closer to Earth than Barnard’s Star, including the sun.


(Transistion: Now although the last constellation is not in the zodiac, I would like to talk about it because it is the brightest and my favorite constellation in the night sky.)

III.             Orion

A.                History/Mythology

1.                  Orion fell in love with Artemis, the hunter goddess, (symbol is the moon). Her older brother the sun god Apollo tricked her into shooting Orion from afar. Filled with sadness Artemis placed amongst the stars to never be forgotten.

a)                  Romans and Greeks considered him the greatest hunter in the world.

2.                  Follow his belt right you will find the eye of Taurus.

a)                  Fighting Taurus to save seven sisters that Taurus holds captive.

B.                 Notable Stars/ Astronomical facts

1.                  Rigel

a)                  Brightest star in Orion / forms right heel

b)                  Blue-White giant / 50,000 times brighter than the sun

c)                  As big as mercury’s orbit

2.                  Betelguese

a)                  Left shoulder of Orion

b)                  Red super-giant

c)                  1,100 bigger than the sun

(1)               As big as mars’ orbit

d)                 Supernova


Conclusion: So there you have it. I have just told you a little about the origins and purposes of the constellations, as well as going over the constellation Ophichus of the zodiac and the constellation Orion. Now you can go out tonight and see for yourself these constellations and be able to recognize them and a few of their stars. After that try to spot some other constellations in the night sky and learn of their histories as well.


The Moon

Today I’m going to talk about our closest neighbor, the moon. The moon is Earth’s only natural satellite. It is fairly large. It’s the fifth largest moon in our solar system and its diameter is a quarter size of the Earth’s.It also appears about the same size as the sun on Earth, it only leaves a small rim of light from the sun in a solar eclipse. Because the moon rotates at the same time with the Earth it is always facing the same way when observing it from Earth. It is the reason for the tides in our oceans because of its gravity. The ancient Greeks and Romans associated the moon with the goddess of hunting, Artemis, who accidentally killed Orion the constellation. The moon is completely covered in craters and ridges because it has no atmosphere and is constantly battered with comets and asteroids. There are over 300,000 craters over one kilometer across alone. You can clearly see many of these craters as the moon is the largest and brightest object of the night sky. Try going out tonight and finding the man in the moon.

Blog Post Ophiuchus

Today I’m going to talk about the new zodiac constellation, Ophiuchus, that the professor told us about earlier in the semester. The main story behind Ophiuchus is that it represents Asclepius, a legendary healer who was able to hold back death. He wanted to make all of mankind immortal, but Zeus didn’t think that was such a great idea so he struck him down with his lightning bolt. But some people say that Zeus got over his jealousy a little bit and felt that Asclepius was not such a bad guy so he gave him a place to live in the night sky for all eternity, granting him his immortality. Ophiuchus is also known as the snake holder. Snakes in ancient Greek mythology were associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom, so snakes were also associated with wisdom. It is also said the Asclepius found out the secret to immortality while observing one serpent bring healing herbs to another. I hope you enjoyed the mythology behind Ophiuchus.

Blog Post Saturn

Last week I talked about my favorite constellation Orion, now I would like to talk about my favorite planet Saturn. Saturn is named after the Roman god of reaping for the harvest. Also the god of time he was supposedly the father of the Roman gods; Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, which are the same as the Greek gods; Zeus, Posiden and Hades. The Story goes that Zeus one day killed Saturn and became the god of thunder and the sky as well as the king of the other gods. Poseidon/Neptune was the god of the sea and Hades/Pluto was the god of the underworld. It takes the planet Saturn about 29 1/2 years to orbit the sun once, but its days are not even eleven hours long. This means Saturn must spin very fast because Saturn is many times bigger than Earth and almost as big as jupiter. Saturn has at least twelve moons, bu it is probably known most for its amazing rings. Eventhough it is not the only planet with rings in our solarsystem it has to most pronounced rings visually.

Blog # 6 – Orion

One of my mother’s favorite constellation is Orion (the Great Hunter).  She likes it because it is one of the easiest constellations to see.  It is one a few constellations that can be seen in both the northern and southern hemispheres.  You can see it best in January.  It has about 81 stars with the closest star, GJ3379, being 17.1 light years away.    At one of his knees is Rigel which is a blue giant and is one of the brightest stars we see.  Betelgeuse is an unstable red super giant that forms one of Orion’s shoulders and it is another very bright star.  It is so large that if it replaced Earth, it would go all the way to Mars or more.  Its other main stars include Salph and Bellatrix and the three stars that make up Orion’s belt which are Mintaka, Alnilan, and Alnitak.  They point to the constellation Taurus the Bull which Orion is fighting.  His dog Sirius is the brightest star after the Sun and it is in the constellation Canis Major near his feet.  Below his belt is his sword which contains the Orion nebula (M43) which is 20,000 times bigger than our solar system.    It is a cloud of gas and dust that glows from the energy of young new stars.  Another popular nebula in this constellation is the horsehead nebula.  Between October 15 and October 29 within the constellation you might see the Orinids meteor shower which appears when the Earth passes through the dust of Haley’s comet.  If you look out in the sky on a clear night you should be able to see and enjoy this constellation too.


Blog # 3 Sci-fi technology vs. reality

I was watched an episode of nova recently on PBS that was all about Sci-fi technology and what would be possible and what wouldn’t. They also talked about how close we are to such technologies and its real suprising to see how close we actually to futuristic technology that so far up to this point has only existed in movies. I’m talking about such technologies as teleportation pads, light speed travel, laser guns and etc. Even though human technology has seemed to hit a speed bump in terms of growth rate compared to the last few centuries (except for personal computersof course), a lot of the cool things we see in sci-fi movies that we think wont exist for centuries to come are actually right around the corner. We all know lasers have been around for quite some time now for surgeries and so on, but sooner than you think we will have laser guns just like in star wars or star trek. Although unfortunate, most of the new technologies coming soon to human civilization are getting there start through war, as most groundbreaking technologies develop. For example the U.S. military has found a way to use microwaves in a huge weapon that can be used to disperse large crowds ( or military units) from very far away. I’m looking forward to seeing the new technologies our scientists come up with that may benefit all of humanity.

Blog #2 Constellations and Navigation

Today we  humans have tons of ways to find our location on the earth. Our maps are more detailed and complete as ever before in our history, there are few places left in the world far from a human civilization and to top it all off we now have GPS to pinpoint our location via satellite. The ancient and preindustrial sailors however had to rely completely on the sun and the stars for a sense of direction and location. Using constellations, of course are not as accurate as GPS or modern maps, but for the most part sailors were able to get by. In the northeren hemisphere sailors were able to use the little dipper and polaris to have a consant northern heading, sailors in the southern hemisphere were not so lucky. During the daytime everyone was able to enjoy the sun as a sense of direction from east to west. Even very ancient civilizations like the babylonians, egyptians and greeks were able to track constellations and use them for navigation even as they move across the sky. The greeks had many constellations named after their gods and heroes, but the babylonians and egyptians actually used the constellations, the planets and all of their locations and alignments in the religions and thought the alignments meant certain things. I think it is important to embrace our navigating ancestors skills in using the night sky to know where we are so that we never become soley independent on machines.