Sunday, September 13, 2015

Carpe Diem #818 Grus (Crane)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are on a space odyssey discovering the beauty of the 88 known constellations. We are exploring their background and hope they will inspire us all. Let us go on on our trip among the stars and visit Grus (Crane), a constellation I hadn't heard of until today. As I prepared this episode I found that this constellation in fact has been discovered by one of the Dutch astronomers back in the 16th century. Here is a short overview of its historical appearance:

Grus is a constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for crane, a type of bird. It is one of twelve constellations conceived by Petrus Plancius from the observations of Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. Grus first appeared on a 35-cm (14 in) diameter celestial globe published in 1598 in Amsterdam by Plancius and Jodocus Hondius and was depicted in Johann Bayer's star atlas Uranometria of 1603. 

Credits: Grus (Crane)

The stars that form Grus were originally considered part of the neighboring constellation Piscis Austrinus (the southern fish), with Gamma Gruis seen as part of the fish's tail. The stars were first defined as a separate constellation by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius, who created twelve new constellations based on the observations of the southern sky by the Dutch explorers Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman, who had sailed on the first Dutch trading expedition, known as the Eerste Schipvaart, to the East Indies. Grus first appeared on a 35-cm diameter celestial globe published in 1598 in Amsterdam by Plancius with Jodocus Hondius. Its first depiction in a celestial atlas was in the German cartographer Johann Bayer's Uranometria of 1603. De Houtman included it in his southern star catalogue the same year under the Dutch name Den Reygher, "The Heron", but Bayer followed Plancius and Hondius in using Grus.

An alternative name for the constellation, Phoenicopterus (Latin "flamingo"), was used briefly during the early 17th century, seen in the 1605 work Cosmographiae Generalis by Paul Merula of Leiden University and a c. 1625 globe by Dutch globe maker Pieter van den Keere. Astronomer Ian Ridpath has reported the symbolism likely came from Plancius originally, who had worked with both of these people. Grus and the nearby constellations Phoenix, Tucana and Pavo are collectively called the "Southern Birds".

Credits: The "Southern Birds"
What an idea to read that Grus is "created" by a fellow Dutchman .... I really didn't know that, but it makes me proud. Isn't it a great idea to "close the circle"? Constellations discovered (created) by Dutchmen who are now part of a prompt-list for a Haiku Kai hosted by a Dutchman. Awesome.

among the stars
resting in peace together
everlasting birds

© Chèvrefeuille

And a haiku from my archives with the spiritual meaning of Crane, eternity, to close this episode:

thousand thoughts a day
while writing haiku for the world -
the cries of a White Cranes

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 16th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, Indus (Indian, a native American), later on. For now .. be inspired and share your haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form, with us all.


  1. Very interesting post, Chevrefeuille!

  2. I like that haiku, very much, bears reading a second, and third time, to let the meanings come through.