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什么是星座?

所属教程:星座英语

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2018年12月06日

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什么是星座?
When you look up into the sky on a clear night, you’ll see stars littered throughout the darkness. It may seem like a random pattern. But some people used those patterns to tell stories—and the stars still have uses for scientists today.

当在晴朗的夜晚仰望天空时,会看到在黑暗中散落的星星。它可能看起来像是有随机的图案,但有些人用这些图案来讲故事 - 而今天,星星仍然对科学家有用。

A constellation is a group of stars that create a recognizable pattern in the sky. There are 88 officially recognized constellations, some of which are named after mythological creatures and might sound familiar if you’ve ever looked up your horoscope.

星座是一组恒星,在天空中显现出一种可识别的图案。目前有88个官方认可的星座,其中一些以神话生物的名字命名,如果你曾经看过你的星座,有的可能听起来就很熟悉。

Anthony Cook, an astronomical observer at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, says constellation patterns are useful for memorizing stars in the sky. In ancient times, different cultures recognized these patterns in different ways, he says, but a lot of the constellations we know today were defined in Ancient Greece.

洛杉矶格里菲斯天文台的天文观测员安东尼·库克说,星座图案对于记忆天空中的恒星非常有用。在古代,不同的学问以不同的方式认识到这些图案,但大家今天所知的很多星座都是在古希腊定义的。

Some of them are named after heroes like Hercules and Orion. Other star patterns are named after animals, like Ursa Major or the big bear. The stars acted as a way to preserve stories, like the legend of Perseus rescuing princess Andromeda from a sea monster named Cetus. Certain parts of the sky let you see the whole story from one constellation to the next, Cook says.

其中一些以赫拉克勒斯和奥利安(猎户座)等英雄命名,其他星形图案以动物命名,如大熊座。这些恒星充当了保存故事的方式,就像珀耳修斯(Perseus,对应星座英仙座)的传说,从一只名叫刻托(Cetus,对应星座为鲸鱼座)的海怪中救出安德洛墨达(Andromeda,对应星座仙女座)公主。库克说,天空的某些部分让你可以看到从一个星座到下一个星座的整个故事。

These constellations are used for more than just remembering stories, Cook says. Explorers used constellations to navigate. Ursa Minor, or the little bear, contains the North Star, a bright star that hovers right over the north pole. Knowing the location of that star means knowing where north is, which is pretty important for getting around without the help of a map. Cook says it can also tell you your latitude based on how high it is above the horizon.

这些星座不仅被用于记忆故事,探险家使用星座进行导航。小熊座(Ursa Minor)里包含北极星,了解那颗恒星的位置意味着知道北方的位置,这对于在没有地图帮助的情况下出行非常重要。库克说,它还可以根据它在地平线上的高度来告诉你你的纬度。

To fill out every corner of the sky, Cook says new constellations were named. This explains more modern names for constellations, like Microscopium, the microscope, which was named in the 18th century.

为了填补天空的每个角落,新的星座就被命名了。这说明了更为现代的星座名称,例如显微镜座(Microscopium),它是在18世纪命名的。

Today scientists use constellations to identify territories of the sky. Cook says that if an astronomer talks about the constellation Sagittarius, they are probably thinking about the center of the milky way galaxy, which lies in Sagittarius’ direction.

今天,科学家使用星座来识别天空的区域。库克说,如果一位天文学家谈论射手座的星座,他们可能会想到银河系的中心,它位于射手座的方向。[HW:射手座的盆友可以自称“银河之心射手座”]

Constellations can also come in handy when naming or identifying stars. Most stars are logged and given a number. A star’s catalog number might include the name of the constellation it’s in. Alpha Centauri, the stars closest to Earth, exist in the Centaurus constellation.

在命名或识别星星时,星座也可以派上用场。大多数星星都会被记录并被指定一串数字。恒星的编号可能包括它所在星座的名称。半人马座α(南门二)星是最接近地球的恒星,存在于半人马座中。

Even over thousands of years, the constellations remain relatively stable, Cook says. Stars are moving past each other at rapid speeds, but they are so far away that if you went back in time to the ancient Greeks, he says you’d probably not notice a difference from today’s sky.

即使在数千年的时间里,这些星座仍然相对稳定。星星正以极快的速度相互移动,但它们距离如此遥远,以至于如果你回到古希腊,你可能没有注意到与今天的天空有什么不同。


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