[Daily article] December 12: Hydrus

Hydrus is a small constellation in the deep southern sky. Its first
appearance was on a celestial globe published in 1598 in Amsterdam by
the astronomer Petrus Plancius and the cartographer Jodocus Hondius. The
first celestial atlas to depict it was Johann Bayer’s Uranometria, in
1603. The French explorer and astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille
charted the brighter stars and gave their Bayer designations in 1756.
Its name means “male water snake”, as opposed to Hydra, a much larger
constellation that represents a female water snake. Hydrus remains below
the horizon for most Northern Hemisphere observers. The brightest star
is the 2.8-magnitude Beta Hydri, also the brightest star within 15° of
the south celestial pole. Pulsating between magnitude 3.26 and 3.33,
Gamma Hydri is a variable red giant some 60 times the diameter of our
Sun. Near it is VW Hydri, one of the brightest dwarf novae in the
heavens. Four star systems have been found to have exoplanets to date,
including HD 10180, which might bear up to nine planetary companions.

Read more:

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1531:

According to traditional Catholic accounts, the image of the
Blessed Virgin Mary miraculously appeared imprinted on Juan Diego’s
tilma.

1866:

England’s worst mining disaster occurred when a series of
explosions caused by flammable gases ripped through the Oaks Colliery.

1941:

At a Nazi Party meeting in the Reich Chancellery, Adolf Hitler
declared the imminent destruction of the Jewish race.

1956:

The Irish Republican Army began its Border Campaign, a
guerrilla campaign to overthrow British rule in Northern Ireland.

1988:

Three trains collided (scene pictured) near Clapham Junction
railway station in London, killing 35 people and injuring 484 others.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

cockalorum:
1. A menial, yet self-important person; a person who makes empty boasts.
2. Boastful speech, crowing.
3. A game similar to leapfrog.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  I have not come here with reference to any flag but that of
freedom. If your Union does not symbolize universal emancipation, it
brings no Union for me. If your Constitution does not guarantee freedom
for all, it is not a Constitution I can ascribe to. If your flag is
stained by the blood of a brother held in bondage, I repudiate it in the
name of God. I came here to witness the unfurling of a flag under which
every human being is to be recognized as entitled to his freedom.
Therefore, with a clear conscience, without any compromise of
principles, I accepted the invitation of the Government of the United
States to be present and witness the ceremonies that have taken place
today. And now let me give the sentiment which has been, and ever will
be, the governing passion of my soul: “Liberty for each, for all, and
forever!”  
–William Lloyd Garrison

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