The name ‘hunter’s moon’ comes from the the Biblical term for “the scene of the hero’s scythe”.
The details of this biblical story are unclear, but it is believed to be telling of God’s judgement on the inhabitants of Canaan during the first period of recorded human history.
It is known from the Book of Genesis that God had an eye for evil, in the form of four people following a man who had been utterly deceived.
“A spider had fallen into the sun, being marked: three were of the evil house, and were taken to the hunter’s lamp,” it reads.
“The first sent out shouts of joy, but one stood in his fire, and said, “Thou art no shepherd!” We saw that the other three were wrong: two of them were slain, and one was debarked.”
These ‘bitten’, or ‘scourged’, outcasts were now caught and persecuted by a fierce hunter, who hung them on the Bann o’ Gaddeo, or fireball of fire, rising above the level of the stars.
Upon her death, God pronounced judgment, and there came over his holy mountain the iniquitous dwelling of the sodomites, as it had been also when it was gathered in the constellation of Cetus (“The Fish”).
“If you be hated the Lord will not reward you, but if you are the great and glorious host of the Lord’s people, the Lord will be pleased with you,” it reads.
“All the inhabitants who have lived in this plain must be profaned: either repentance for all of their sins or eternal punishment. So it is done with thee and with thy soul, so it was to Cain: it is to you also.”
This biblical story may have been used to reference the hunters who later found the stones for the Bann o’ Gaddeo, and who then chose this location.
Historian William Kingsbury-Hay wrote in A History of British Astronomy: “Tradition has it that in the golden age of chivalry these stones – as probably applied to their stars – became known as ‘the second star’ in the constellation of Cetus (the Fish).”
Mr Kingsbury-Hay says the hunter’s moon also refers to the annual burning of the Western White Oak forest by the fire of the Bann o’ Gaddeo.
“The fire that tormented the woods’ inhabitants was pure chivalry: the stones were originally found to help disperse the ashes from each fire, as well as illuminating the forest,” he said.
Discover where the names of the planets come from
Dormion is the Greek word for ‘shining’ or ‘bright light’. The constellation Orion or Orion’s Belt is one of the several named after the Roman god of the western sky.
Orion’s belt is that of the belt of Orion and contains the constellations Betelgeuse, Scorpius, and Canis Major, Canis Minor and Canis Minor in the northern sky and Mercury and Orion’s Belt in the southern sky.
Dormion is the name of the constellation is Sagittarius and includes Crab Nebula and Cygnus, the Swan constellation.
Orion’s belt is that of Orion and contains the constellations Betelgeuse, Scorpius, and Canis Major, Canis Minor and Canis Minor in the northern sky and Mercury and Orion’s Belt in the southern sky.
Alan MacLeod, the curator of astronomy at The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, says the reasoning behind the spelling was that the symbol for ‘shining’ is a coin and not a figure.
The constellation is named after the star Lyra, a Greek word meaning “young butterfly”, which is the constellation of all the members of the family Lyra, and has also been called a “flying object”.
The star Zeta Quid or ‘Quid Star’ which lies in Orion’s belt is named after a Scottish man who was the man recognised for his star in Latin as a unique blue star during the early 20th century.
The word ‘Zeta’ or number of stars is not related to the number of solar systems (including our own).
Zeta only means Alpha in Greek and often plays a role in a new astronomy concept called a ‘formula’ where a given star is measured in the number of specific stars (these are often written as “Zetas’ or a ‘Zeta + Zetas’) in a galaxy.
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