A report concerning stars and constellations

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Michiel Klaassen

Joëlle van der Pol

Literature essay:

Veralyn Adeyinka

Wikke den Hartogh


February 2004

Table of contents

A few interesting constellations

Orion (The hunter)


“ Orion is the master of the winter skies. He lords over the heavens from late fall to early spring, with his hunting dog Sirius trailing at his feet. “

The mythic tales of Orion go as far back as the Hittites, who flourished from the Second Millennium BC to around 1200 BC.

One story from this culture account of Orion's death. Here he is called Aqhat, and was a handsome and famous hunter. The Battle-Goddess Anat fell in love with Aqhat, but when he refused to lend her his bow, she sent another man to steal it. This man failed to do it, and wound up killing Aqhat and dropping the bow into the sea. This is said to explain the astronomical fact that Orion and the Bow (an older version of the constellation) drops below the horizon for two months every spring.

Finding Orion should be no problem. Its stars are some of the most familiar in all the heavens. There are three bright stars which make up the belt of Orion. From west to east the stars are called Mintaka, Alnilam, and Alnitak. Even the Bible makes reference to this famous group. God, while pointing out how all-powerful he was, is purported to have asked Job if he (Job) was able to "loose the bands of Orion"

Leo (Lion)

The first on the list of Heracles' labours was the task of killing the Nemean Lion, a giant beast that roamed the hills and the streets of the Peloponnesian villages, devouring whomever it met.

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The animal's skin was impervious to iron, bronze, and stone. Heracles' arrows harmlessly bounced off the lion; his sword bent in two; his wooden club smashed to pieces. So Heracles wrestled with the beast, finally choking it to death. He then wrapped the lion's pelt about him; it would protect him from the next labour: killing the poisonous Hydra.

As the story goes, the lion found its way to the heavens to commemorate the great battle with Heracles. Yet this isn't all there is to the story. For even in antiquity, long before the Greeks began telling ...

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Here's what a star student thought of this essay


Though the candidate shows a reasonably good understanding of the topics discussed, they use very few technical terms and their language is sometimes colloquial, when writing a scientific essay a formal approach is more appropriate. In addition to this there are a few issues with spelling, for example the candidate has spelt the word ‘recognized’ with a ‘z’ which is the American version of the spelling, the British version should have an ‘s’.

The candidate has clearly undergone independent research in order to provide additional information related to their chosen constellations. This shows the candidates interest in their subject and demonstrates a wider depth of knowledge. However some of the information they have included has simply been copied and pasted from a web source. I highly discourage against this, your teacher/examiner is interested in what you have to say about the topic, if you use sources for research then take the time to write out the information in your own words. Furthermore this piece of writing could have been improved by bringing together different topics within physics, such as the formation and life cycle of stars, which again would show a greater understanding of physics. Finally, though the candidate concludes their work, they have only written a brief paragraph. A good conclusion should summarise your key points and ideas and include a personal response as this can help to draw the essay to a close and leave the reader with a good impression of your work.

Unfortunately the candidate has not written an introduction, they simply start off with the main information for the essay, which can be confusing when you first look at it. An introduction sets the tone of the essay and gives you a chance to engage the reader. You should also state the topics you plan to discuss so that the purpose of your essay is clear. That said the candidates response to the set topic is fairly explicit, they have given a great deal of information regarding several different constellations. In addition to this they have provided suitable images and additional information relating to the names and myths of the constellations mentioned. The use of images for this piece of writing is appropriate as it helps the reader visualise the different constellations, images can also make an essay more interesting to read.