Costellazione Cavallino, stelle principali e mitologia

26 Lug 2017

OSR blog post

La costellazione Cavallino rappresenta una delle costellazioni che affascina maggiormente coloro che sono appassionati di mitologia, visto che essa ha una storia particolare da raccontare.
Ecco tutte le informazioni che riguardano questa particolare costellazione.

Main stars of the Cavallino constellation

Located near the constellation of Pegasus, the legendary winged horse of the Gods, the constellation Cavallino is small in size and its body is made up of several main stars that can be seen very easily in the sky.
The one that turns out to be the main one of the different stars turns out to be Kitalpha, or a particular star whose size turns out to be medium.
This can be easily noticed thanks to its strong yellow color which is simple to notice: in fact we are talking about a star that manages to shine in the sky and can easily be distinguished, even if it is a spectroscopic binary.
In addition to being a fairly bright star and the largest one, the star Kitalpha is the one that is furthest from Earth, that is, it has a distance of 186 light years.
The second star that takes on great importance, complete with the definition of main star, is that of δ Equulei: it, unlike the main star, appears to be very small in size and for this particular reason it is defined as a dwarf star in the constellation Cavallino.
Also in this case we are talking about a star that is easily visible with the right instruments given that its yellow light is equally intense, although it is obscured by the presence of the main star.
Finally, as the most important star that characterizes the Cavallino constellation, there is that of γ Equulei: in this case we are talking about a giant star which, in some ways, tends to obscure the main star of the constellation itself.
However, it is not equipped with a particular luminous power and for this very reason it is not identified as the main star of its constellation, even though its dimensions are actually larger.
The two main stars are respectively sixty and one hundred and fifteen light years away from planet Earth.

Constellation mythology

According to mythology, the Cavallino constellation was born when Mercury decided to give Castor, one of the Dioscuri, son of Zeus, a foal to reward him for his way of behaving and above all for the loyalty shown, over the years, to the different divinity.
This trust was born from the fact that Castor, together with his brother Pollux, distinguished themselves in various battles guided by the hands of the Gods.
Castor was also an excellent boxer and his blows were impossible to dodge: when the enemies saw him in battle the thought of running away was always recurring in their minds but the fear of disappointing the deities and facing great punishments prevailed.
Castor was also an excellent horse breeder and farmer and for this very reason, given the various sacrifices that were made by him, Mercury decided to reward him by offering him a foal, a symbol of maximum beauty and above all of gratitude from the Gods.
But Castor, at a certain moment in his life, decided to adopt a behavior that did not make the various divinities absolutely happy: he kidnapped, together with his brother, the betrothed of their cousins, whose wedding was approved by the Olympian Divinities.
Precisely for this reason Castor was condemned to a life in Hades, as he decided to rebel against the gods and not regret having offended them with his behavior which was anything but correct.
For this reason, the colt that Mercury decided to give him was taken away from him and became part of the constellation that everyone can admire today.
According to the myth, in fact, during the animal’s passage from earth to sky, it touched several stars which took on the shape that everyone can admire today.
Furthermore, legend has it that Pollux, saddened by his brother’s sentence, decided to lead a life completely different from that of any ordinary mortal.
The brother decided to follow Castor to Hades but, being venerated by the Gods and appreciated for his way of doing things, he lived spending one day in Olympus and one in Hades, as he did not want to abandon his brother but, at the same time , he certainly didn’t want to face heavy divine punishments that would have cost him his life.

Curiosities about the Cavallino constellation

This particular constellation is very simple to identify given its proximity to that of Pegasus and the constellation Dolphin: the Horse is in fact located in the middle of the two and sometimes seems to be an integral part of both.
Equipped with only one double star, namely ε Equulei, this constellation is more visible during the second part of the year: starting from the month of June, in fact, the Cavallino constellation can be observed with great ease from every part of the planet.
Its visibility tends to disappear at the end of the year, that is, in the month of December you will have difficulty identifying it in the sky while from January to June, being able to observe it becomes almost impossible.