Stargazing 101: Carina the Ship

Carina the Ship has various stories behind it, as many of the constellations do. This one involving Diomedes, being the most popular, is followed by another tale of the ship being the one that transported the husband of Helen of Troy home from the Trojan Wars.

Carina the Ship

They Mythology

Diomedes (sometimes referred to as Jason) was the rightful heir to his father’s throne in Ioclan. In his land, there was disapproval of Diomedes taking the throne after his father’s death, and so there was an uprising to take the crown from him. His mother had desperately tried to keep the peace, however, she soon realized that her efforts would be in vein if she didn’t do something to save her son.

To save his life, she smuggled him to Mount Pelion where the King of the Centaurs, Chiron, raised him. Upon Diomedes absence, Pelias took his place as ruler of Ioclan and promised that if Diomedes were to return and lift the curse that had been placed on their home, he would give him his rightful place on the throne. Knowing that this would be a daunting task, Diomedes hesitantly agreed and took quite some time to devise his plan. He knew he would have to find the ghost of Phrixas and return him for a proper burial, and also bring back the Golden Fleece.

Diomedes assembled a group of people he knew could help, including Argus the builder and Hercules, to assist him on his mission. He instructed Argus to build a great ship, called Carina the Ship, and they set sail in search of the ghost and the Fleece. They had many adventures along the way, as heroes in these stories typically do, and it is not said if they ever completed their specific mission. There are, however, various stories of the adventures that Diomedes and the Argonauts (as they were all called) had. Their stories became so well known that their ship was placed among the stars to remind the people to bravely experience adventures.

Stargazing 101: Carina the Ship - Clapway

The Facts

The brightest star in this constellation was named after Canopus, the pilot of the fleet of ships that belonged to Helen of Troy’s husband, King Menelaus, and was also later a primary star used in the navigation of spacecraft. One stellar object in this constellation is the Keyhole Nebula, one of the most watched nebulas in the sky. Scientists believe it will turn into a supernova eventually. Carina the Ship is known as a Southern Circumpolar constellation, meaning that it can only be seen by a few in the Northern Hemisphere. There are many other notable stellar objects in this constellation, including the Carina Nebula, Eta Carinae (the most luminous star in our galaxy), and Westerland 2 (a young star cluster).

Stargazing 101: Carina the Ship - Clapway


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