Thursday, September 09, 2010

Why I Like The Pleiades

Why I like the Pleiades
  • They're really blue. They're the sort of blue I would like to wear. They're the sort of blue that belongs in diadems. They're the sort of blue that I would put into starship controls to let everyone know that the machinery is running optimally, making the starship skate along the stars like an Olympian Champion over the ice while Clara Rockmore plays Saint-Saëns' "The Swan".

  • They look like a tiny Big Dipper. This tiny Big Dipper is in the back of Taurus, the Bull, and it used to be an archery test to see how many of the little stars one could make out (and therefore, presumably how well you could see a target).

  • Their Japanese name is "Subaru" or "The Daughters of Industry," and you can see them on the hood of every Subaru car. Seeing them in the sky usually makes me say "Subaru" just because it's such a fun word and I wonder what the proper pronunciation should be.

  • But I think the reason I like them the most is that they (along with Orion) used to let me know if I had stayed up way too late as I was walking home from campus back in the 1980's. Sort of like a mother or a cadre of older sisters. Their reproach was silent. You'd look up, and there they'd be, silently to the left of the front porch if it was still before midnight, and just as silently to the right of the porch if it was after -- and you knew that the farther to the right (west) they were, the harder the next day was going to be. They were beautiful to look at.
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