This is the first of a series of short verses written to help young people identify the constellations. The titles of the poems are names which might be more familiar to children/ young people in the West today. So the first is called the Super-Starry -Saucepan which I guess will be a more familiar image to most children today than a plough. As the series develops it will lead from one to another verse and build on the information in earlier verses. So if a young person can learn the verse in the day, hopefully he/she will be able to identify the stars at night (providing they are visible at that time of the year. Notes with the verses will indicate when/where the stars are visible.)
I am indebted to Guy Consolmagno (The Vatican Astronomer) for sparking the idea for this series of verses during a retreat he led recently (Early October) at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire.
So here is Starryverse 1
The Super Starry Saucepan
(The Plough, or Big Dipper)
is always in the sky,
its handle bent through constant use
in years and years gone by.
Its free side points to North Star,
the handle curves on round
towards Arcturus, lovely sight
which should be simply found
Here’s an outline of the starry saucepan/plough in one of the positions you might see it as it rotates around around the North star (also called the Pole Star or the Lodestar) so it is the shape you’re looking for, only sometimes looking like a saucepan standing on a hob, at other times looking like a saucepan being held in the air and at others like a saucepan being emptied. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is visible all year round