Hera, wife of Zeus and hence the Queen of the heavens, was an excessively
jealous wife. And with good reason; Zeus was excessively amorous.
Scholars have assiduously traced at least fifty lovers and mistresses of
this supreme Greek god. Io was one of these lovers.
The trouble was, Io was one of Hera's priestesses, and Hera soon discovered
the infidelity. To protect Io, Zeus transformed her into a heifer. But Hera
was not fooled, and she claimed ownership over the heifer, then chose Argus
Panoptes to guard the animal.
As indicated by its name, Argus Panoptes was "all eyes". Indeed, the beast
had one hundred eyes, which surely should have been sufficient to guard one
Zeus engaged Hermes with the task of rescuing Io. To avoid detection by one
of Argus' one hundred eyes, Hermes charmed the animal with a flute when it
was fast asleep, then threw a huge boulder on top of it, and for good
measure cut off its head.
An angry Hera set a gadfly to pester Io, who then roamed around most of
the Mediterranean nations before finally settling down in Egypt, where Zeus
changed her back into human form. She later established the worship of
Isis in Egypt.
As for the unfortunate Argus Panoptes, Hera put all of its many eyes on
the tail of her sacred bird, the peacock. Only much later, in the
seventeenth century, would the peacock itself become part of the heavenly
zoo. Johann Bayer introduced the constellation in Uranometria in 1603,
along with a number of other birds: Apus, Grus, Phoenix, and Tucana.
Pavo is a large constellation showing the tail
of the peacock in full display. While the Bayer
stars are not very bright, there are several deep sky objects of interest
in the constellation.
Xi Pavonis is a visual binary: 4.4. 8; PA 154 degrees, separation
Kappa Pavonis is a cepheid: 3.91 to 4.8 every nine days.
Lambda Pavonis is a gamma Cas type variable: 4.0 to 4.3.
Deep Sky Objects:
NGC 6744 is a very large and fairly bright barred spiral galaxy.
The galaxy is found three degrees SE of lambda Pavonis.
NGC 6752 is a splendid globular cluster, large and bright and compact.
It's about ten degrees WSW of alpha Pav (omega Pav is just west to the west).
It might be easier to find it four degrees north of NGC 7644. This cluster
is considered one of the closest globulars, at about 20,000 light years away.
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