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Here's a pair of constellations that easily slithers out of the grasp of a beginning skywatcher: Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer, and his snake.
As night falls this week, look toward the south-southwest and you will find, covering a large expanse of the sky, the "celestial medicine man" Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer, a star pattern that teams with the constellation Serpens.
James - England - Ophiuchus - Mediciner - God
King James I of England, who reigned in the 1600s, once referred to Ophiuchus as "a mediciner, after made a god," because the serpent-bearer was often identified with Aesculapius, who, in Greek mythology, was a mortal physician who never lost a patient by death.
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Aesculapius - Role - Legend - Orion - Hunter
Aesculapius played a key role in the legend of Orion, the hunter. Orion was said to be a braggart who loved to boast that there was no animal on Earth that could defeat him, no matter how strong or ferocious the beast was. For some reason, this angered the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus, who devised a plan to kill Orion by having a scorpion sting the great warrior in his heel, the little creature fatally wounding him with its poison.
The story could have ended there, but that was when Aesculapius was called to the scene, carrying with him a serpent, which had long been regarded as a source of healing.
Lo - Orion - Life
Lo and behold! He brought Orion back to life.
This alarmed Hades, god of the dead, who became concerned that his kingdom was in jeopardy; what would happen if Aesculapius told his secret to other doctors? This would cheat this god of the underworld of some of his anticipated "guests." So, he prevailed upon his brother Zeus to liquidate both Orion and Aesculapius with a thunderbolt.
Everybody - Night - Orion - Canine - Companions
Thereafter, everybody concerned moved into the night sky: Orion, with his two faithful canine companions, Canis Major...
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