Stargazing 101: Aries the Ram

I genuinely hope you have all enjoyed my Stargazing series! These stories about the constellations and the facts behind them are so incredibly interesting and I’ve had such a wonderful time sharing them with you!

Stargazing 101- Aries the Ram - Clapway

The Mythology

Aries, a Latin word for “ram,” often identifies with the story of the Golden Fleece (which you might remember from the story of Carina, the ship. It is often that we hear of Zeus and his extramarital affairs, but rarely do we hear of Hera’s conquests.

In the story of Aries, Ixion, King of Lapiths, attempted to woo Hera. Zeus learned of Ixion’s intent to “brand” Hera as his lover and declared that his plan would not come to fruition. Zeus coerced a cloud named Nephele to take Hera’s shape and trick Ixion into thinking he was with the queen of the Gods.

Ixion thought he had succeeded in seducing Hera, but quickly found out that he had essentially impregnated Nephele. Ixion was punished for attempting to steal Zeus’s wife, and Nephele gave birth to the first ever centaur. She later had two more children with Athamas, another king, who tried to have the children killed. She came to Hera for assistance in saving them, so Hera sent a golden ram to aid the children in their escape.

Unfortunately, one of the children fell off the ram’s back and died, however, the other survived and made it to safety. Once on the banks of Colchis, the surviving child sacrificed the ram to Poseidon. Poseidon then instructed him to present the ram’s golden fleece to the king of Aeete, who hung up the fleece in a secret garden where it was protected by a dragon.

It was at this same time, you might recall from Carina the Ship, that Diomedes’s land had overthrown him as heir to his father’s throne. Pelias, the man who took Diomede’s throne in his absence, is the cousin of the boy who sacrificed the ram that saved him to the god of the sea. Hera was distraught that this beautiful ram she had created had been so easily sacrificed, so she placed him among the stars to always be remembered for his heroic actions in attempting to save the two children.

Stargazing 101- Aries the Ram -- Clapway

The Facts

This cluster of stars can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere and houses 4 stars with known planets. Its brightest star is known as El Nath, meaning “head of the sheep” and is a giant star that shines a reddish brown color, having grown to be twice the size of our Sun. The most interesting stellar object in the Aries constellation is a spiral galaxy, one of three galaxies that exist in this star cluster.


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