I'm the brightest star in the universe!

November 29, 2016

The Boss has been out these last few nights - he's a bit odd, the way he looks at the sky at night. For quite a while, too. Me, I can suss out the sky for black duck, pigeons, pesky magpies and teal in about thirty seconds. There's nothing else there.

Anyway, he keeps doing it and I need to keep him company - he'll scratch my back while he's doing it if I position myself the right way (something I happen to be quite good at.)

He tells me the southern sky is the richest part of the whole sky and I'm much better off here than my American ancestors. He says there are a lot of my breed of in America and they have a pretty dull part of the sky to look at, compared to mine.

Down here in Australia we have a good view of the Milky Way, the edge of our galaxy, so he says - and who am I to argue? I like milk, when I can get a bit, and the edge of anything. I mean, I live on the edge. It's what I do.

Last night he dragged me out while I was enjoying watching Notting Hill with the missus - just to show me a very special constellation, he reckoned - but it was worth it. 

Canis Major, he called it, meaning Big Dog. I knew I had a motor mower named after me but I never knew I had a whole constellation named just after me, as well. It's quite an honour.

The Boss says there are only 88 constellations in the whole sky and any dog who knows them all will never feel lost. He claims they are not that hard to learn but 88 is stretching it for me, given that my concentration span is two or three munches on a chicken wing. That's all it takes to suck it down.

But what came next is amazing. The main star in Canis Major, it turns out, is Sirius - The Dog Star. Comes from the Ancient Greek. The Boss says Homer thought of it - not Homer Simpson, the other Homer, way back. The first great story-teller, the Boss says, and Sirius belonged to Orion, the Hunter. Sirius was his hunting dog. Like me.

Well, that's what I'm supposed to be. But The Boss says I have to learn a trick or two. Like manners, and discipline - that sort of thing. I'll worry about that later. But here's what he said then: "General, the Dog Star is the brightest star in the universe!"

The brightest! I mean, I knew that. Of course I would be - or it would be - easy to confuse the two. That's my star! The brightest star in the universe. 

You can see it now, without any moon to get in the way. You first look for The Hunter, Orion - Australians call it The Saucepan, The Boss says, because its upside-down compared to the way the Ancient Greeks saw it and looks like a saucepan with a handle  - he reckons the handle is Orion's sword.

Once you find The Saucepan - more or less overhead in the late evening at this time of year - you put an outstretched palm from Orion to the east and you'll see me - I mean, The Dog Star, twinkling very brightly. Can't miss it. Pretty much in line with Orion's belt.

Imagine that. The Dog Star - the brightest star in the universe! Woof.

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