Oleg Zabluda's blog
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Berenice (Veronica, Верочка), a newlywed Pharaoh's wife, swore to Aphrodite that if her husband returns alive from...

Berenice (Veronica, Верочка), a newlywed Pharaoh's wife, swore to Aphrodite that if her husband returns alive from the dangerous war, she would sacrifice her heavenly, long, blond hair. He did, so she cut her hair and placed it in the goddess's temple. By next morning somebody pinched (спилил) it. The Pharaoh was furious and told the negligent, or worse, priests that, unless the hair is found, he'll execute them all after nightfall.

The night fell, and the priests were saying goodbye to their lives, when one of them came up with a ridiculous excuse:
- Look, there it is, in the heavens, constellation of Coma Berenici (coma means hair in Latin, compare to Comb, Comet, Космы). The gods accepted it

That worked, due to ignorance of the Pharaoh. Everybody knew, and it was recorded in Ptolemy's Almagest, that it was the brush of hair at the tip of the tail of Leo.

We like the story, and accept Coma Berenici as a constellation (unlike some other stpid constellations). It's the closest open star cluster, the home of Galactic North Pole, and the Coma Cluster.


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