The River Eridanus

The many stars of Eridanus


The river leaps to life in lambda, trickling timidly north to beta before abruptly turning westward.

Curiously the next star is omega, although we've scarcely begun our journey.

Gathering momentum we reach mu, the most northerly star, then nu and xi before the waters turn south, squeezing through the narrows of the two omicrons.

Plunging wildly southward now, the river gathers speed until it reaches gamma, only to suddenly change its course once more, north now to delta, epsilon, zeta, and eta: keeping the correct alphabetical order.

At eta the river turns once again to the south, dropping all the way down to tau1 then backtracking in an easterly direction it tumbles through the 'tee' stars, one through nine.

After 't' comes 'u', or upsilon. There are four of them. After the first one, the Eridanus undulates across the rest of the 'u' stars heading once more westward.

The river -- grandious, full-bodied -- has now matured. One yields entirely to its power and majesty as it rolls implacably on to theta.

We pause only briefly to admire this attractive double, which was once the river's mouth, before we continue up to iota. Here the river forms a magnificent multiple falls, spilling straight down to s then continuing as the Cataracts of kappa, and once again to phi where the river levels off, forming a huge lake, on the far side of which is chi.

From chi the waters lanquidly proceed, reaching their destination, the river's mouth Achernar, alpha. Unable to be contained any longer, the mighty Eridanus spills out into the starry heavens.

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.