As we complete the year of constellations, we will focus on some of the fainter ones seen this time of year.
Since they are faint, you have to travel to pristine, dark skies, like those in provincial parks, to see them well.
The Eridanus River
This constellation is of ancient origin and has long represented a river.
Since it came to Greek knowledge through Aratus (who learned about it from the Egyptians), many people associate the Nile River with Eridanus.
This constellation is the sixth largest, and a good part of it is below the horizon from which we can observe it in the north.
Lepus the hare
While Eridanus is one of the largest constellations, Lepus the Hare is one of the smallest.
Lying under the feet of Orion, the hare must surely have been a provocation to the great dog of the east (Canis Major). The hare has long represented perseverance (it blooms in all seasons) and fertility (it is very prolific).
In Ontario, we have two native species of hare, the snowshoe hare and the cottontail hare, as well as an introduced hare, the European hare.
Monoceros the Unicorn
Most of the constellations described throughout the year originated in ancient times.
Monoceros the Unicorn was identified in the early 17th century. Being a faint constellation, it has no precursor in Greek mythology. However, the winter Milky Way passes through the constellation. It contains some interesting objects.
Perhaps the most interesting is the enormous molecular cloud known as the Rosetta Nebula. Young, hot, bright stars near the center carry gas molecules. In turn, they emit radiation, some of which we see as red light.