Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | November 16, 2016

The Hunter and Seven Sisters

(2 Minute Read)
Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda Galaxy
This spiral galaxy proclaims the glory of
its Creator with a trillion stars about
2.5 million light-years away.
Andromeda is more than 220,000 LY
in diameter. (Click image to enlarge.)

One of the most amazing understatements of the Bible is tacked on at the end of Genesis 1:16:
He made the stars also.

Five short words! Yet one of the most stunning testimonies to the awesome greatness of Yahweh is this very panoply of stars in the heavens:
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

The Bible mentions three constellations or star groups by name: the Pleiades, Orion, and the Bear (Job 9:8-10; 38:31-32; Amos 5:8).
Who alone stretches out the heavens
And tramples down the waves of the sea;
Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades,
And the chambers of the south;
Who does great things, unfathomable,
And wondrous works without number.

(Job 9:8-10 NASB)

Orion, the Hunter

Orion is a prominent winter constellation in the northern hemisphere named after the hunter Orion of Greek mythology. In the southern hemisphere it’s a summer constellation.

The constellation is easy to recognize by its belt of three stars, which are sometimes called the Three Kings. Orion contains two of the ten brightest stars in the night sky: the blue-white supergiant Rigel (left foot of the earth-facing Orion) and the red supergiant Betelgeuse (right shoulder).

Orion Constellation showing shoulders, feet, belt, and sword

Orion Constellation
Showing shoulders, belt,
sword, and feet.

The seven stars marking Orion’s shoulders, feet, and belt are among the most distant that are visible with the naked eye. The sword hanging from Orion’s belt appears to be marked by three stars, but the middle one is actually not a star but the Orion Nebula, a reflective cloud of gas, dust, and stars.

The easily recognizable Orion is useful in locating other stars in the sky. For example, extend the line of the belt southeastward to find Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. A line from Rigel (Orion’s left foot) through Betelgeuse (Orion’s right shoulder) points to Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini. Castor and Pollux was the sign (figurehead) of a ship the Apostle Paul took on his way to Rome (Acts 28:11). Below I will describe how to find the Pleiades using Orion.

The Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters

November is sometimes referred to as the Pleiades month, because the Pleiades are visible in the northern hemisphere throughout the night in November. In the southern hemisphere, the Pleiades are visible in the summer.

Galileo was the first we know of to view the Pleiades with a telescope, and he discovered the cluster had more than seven stars. He published a sketch of the Pleiades showing 36 stars in 1610.

The Pleiades (Messier 45) is a star cluster about 440 light-years from Earth containing over 1,000 stars. Seven of the brightest ones can be seen with the naked eye and give the cluster its alternate name, the Seven Sisters. The cluster lies in the constellation Taurus.

subaru

The Pleiades have been known worldwide in many cultures from ancient times: the Babylonians, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Persians, the Greeks, the Maori of New Zealand, the Maya, the Cherokee, the Aztec, the Sioux, Moslems, Hindus, and the Aborigines of Australia. Subaru (meaning cluster or united) is the Japanese name for the Pleiades; an image of the cluster forms the car company’s logo.

You need a dark sky to see the Pleiades. They are a faint group shaped like the bowl of a small spoon. In November in the northern hemisphere, they will rise in the east after sunset and travel overhead across the dome of the sky. The cluster is west-northwest of Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus.

The easiest way for me to find the Pleiades is to first locate the constellation Orion. Orion rises in the east after dark and travels across the sky to the west. Draw a line parallel to Orion’s belt from Betelgeuse, Orion’s right shoulder (Orion faces Earth). Half-way to the Pleiades, the line will pass above (north of) the bright star Aldebaran in Taurus and then goes on to hit the Pleiades.

The nine brightest stars of the Pleiades are named for the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology: Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Celaeno, Maia, Taygeta, and Sterope, along with their parents Atlas and Pleione.

The nine brightest Pleiades’ stars are named for the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology:
Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Celaeno, Maia, Taygeta, and Sterope,
and for their parents Atlas and Pleione.

The grandeur of Orion, the sparkling beauty of the Pleiades, the innumerable stars of the universe all point to a Maker, to One who made heaven and earth (Isaiah 37:16).

The majesty of the stars alone should compel men to seek the Creator and Savior before it is too late. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31 NASB)

Questions to Ponder
  1. Why should a Christian study the stars?
  2. Why aren’t stars named after Biblical characters like the Genesis patriarchs instead of figures from mythology?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God. (Psalm 19:1 KJV)
Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the sequel:
Orion & the Pleiades Speak Truth

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday November 16, 2016 A.D.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion
And changes deep darkness into morning,
Who also darkens day into night,
Who calls for the waters of the sea
And pours them out on the surface of the earth,
The LORD is His name.
(Amos 5:8 NASB)


Responses

  1. Why should a Christian study the stars?

    Yes, as the psalmist wrote in 19:1-2: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words…”

    God calls us to learn about Him, about His Power, and about His Glory which are beyond what mere language can describe; far more than words can say!

    The heavens declare His righteousness, And ALL the peoples have seen His glory!” Ps 97:6; 50:6

    Carl Sagan looked at the heavens and because he had rejected God, the deceiver caused him only to feel dwarfed by the cosmos. He looked at the speck of our tiny earth in the midst of the constellations and felt diminish to nothing more than “star stuff”. Oh how he missed, and misled others, about the message of the stars!

    The stars sing both of God’s glory and the magnitude of our importance to Him!

    His Word through his creation narrative and all that follows shows us that we are the apex of His creation. All the cosmos was made for us, and we were made for Him! For all of this will pass away; yet we have been given the invitation and opportunity to enter eternal life with Him.

    Size is nothing to the Infinite One, neither the macrocosm nor the microcosm; however size does speak to us, the finite. God is asking us to believe that He has not only the desire for an eternal relationship with us, but the power to accomplish His promise of resurrection.

    He values each individual person and can and will preserve our unique identity through the death of the flesh, as with Christ our King! And He will bring those who love Him unto Himself into the place He has gone to prepare for us to dwell with Him for all eternity.

    For flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed!” 1 Corinthians 15:50-51

    He knew that we would be awed by the created universe. And knowing the end from the beginning, He saw that one day with the gifts He had given us we would pierce the heavens with our telescopes and probes to discover ever more intensely how majestic they are as they reflect the Majesty and Power of our Creator!

    Bottom line, we should study the stars because it is the Power of His Creation that testifies to the Power of His Resurrection and gives us the confidence to believe in the Power of His Promises to us!

    Thanks for this journey into the night sky; I look forward to the sequel!

    Rejoicing in His Glory!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill, Excellent! Enjoyed reading very much while resting at Starbucks in Little Rock.

    Thanks for the well written appeal to faith about the One Who made the stars also.

    jed

    Like

    • Thanks for the encouraging words, jed. I’m glad it blessed you.

      Like


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