The Constellations Don't Look Like What They're Named
(From South Park Episode 211 "Roger Ebert Should Lay Off The Fatty Foods")
[Inside the planetarium]
Dr. Adams: Good morning children and welcome to the
plane-arium. We're going on a fascinating ride
through the universe. So I want you to lean back
in your chairs and get comfortable.
(The chairs lean back)
Stan: This is stupid.
Dr. Adams: And now I'm going to dim the lights, and
let the stars....come out.
Dr. Adams: Here we see the constellation called the
Big Dipper. If I project the drawing of a big dipper
on top of it, we see where the constellation gets
Dr. Adams: These stars over here form the constellation of Taurus, the bull.
Dr. Adams: While these stars form the constellation Roger Ebert.
Dr.Adams: And these two little stars over here form the constellation, the Crusades.
See the clip here southpark.avi (698KB, Divx)
The reason some constellations don't look anything like what they are named is because
some constellations have more to do with what time of year it is when they become
prominent and what that time of year originally reminded people of. For example, the
constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is the constellation that becomes prominent
during the rainy season. The stars doen't look anything like a guy pouring a pitcher of
water. Connecting the stars to try and make an image of a guy pouring a pitcher of water
is futile. But every year when those stars are just above the horizon at sunset it always
rains because it's that time of year. Hence people began identifying that set of stars
with rain, and eventually personified those stars as a guy pouring a pitcher of water.
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