Jan 26, 2010

Stellar Thaipusam

The Tamil festival of Thaipusam for 2010 is celebrated on Saturday, January 30th.  The word Thaipusam consists of two words: Thai which is roughly the Tamil equivalent of January, and Pusam which is considered a star. When the  moon goes past Pusam during the month of Thai then Thaipusam is celebrated.

Pusam corresponds astronomically to the Cancri star cluster - no astrology here, this is all astronomy.  The Cancri cluster is shown as an inverted Y in the picture.

In 2007 there was buzz in the astronomical world when a fifth planet was found to orbit the star ar the top of the inverted Y.  This star, 55 Cancri, is 41 light years from earth and is the only star with that many planets other than our own solar system found so far.  Coincidental discovery or otherwise, hats off to the ancient star gazers and Happy Thaipusam to our Hindu readers.

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