Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Rabbit in the Sky

Rabbits and hares get mixed up just about as much as ravens and crows. In nature, rabbits are not as large or as fast as hares, nor are they as equipped to deal with the world when they are babies: rabbits are born naked and blind, while hares have fur and vision. Rabbits are homebodies who like to stay close to their warrens and live in social groups while hares lean toward the nomadic lifestyle. In folklore, however, rabbits and hares are interchangeable as long-eared tricksters with powerful legs for quick getaways and the brains to outwit their enemies.

Some cultures have a tradition of a rabbit in the moon, but if you want to see a rabbit in the stars, you'll have to look a bit harder. Lepus the rabbit (or hare!) sits at the foot of the constellation Orion. It's not too hard to find Orion's belt, but frankly, I never knew about the existence of Lepus until recently. As with most constellations, imagination is a key ingredient to finding the pictures.


Unknown said...

Thank you, Alkelda, I never knew there was a rabbit constellation.

galetea said...

Can I just say something about Orion? Does anyone really believe that that's his "sword" up there? We know what the ancient Greeks were like.

Saints and Spinners said...

Tut, tut, Galatea. There are children present. Though really, young children are the ones who find "swords" really funny without sexy connotations. Can you imagine how silly the beginning astronomy lessons would be?