Finding Bunny's Footprints in the Heavens!
Magical bunnies, like Bunny of Bunny Hollow, do not always stay in forests. Sometimes, just for fun, they play among the stars! And sometimes, you can even see their footprints in the heavens! To find them you must first learn what bunny footprints look like.
Now that you know what bunny footprints look like; you can begin tracking magical bunnies in the sky. The next step is to become familiar with the Scorpion, who lives in the heavens. He looks like a curving string of stars resembling a fishhook or the letter "J". The first time the entire Scorpion can be seen in the sky during the year (in the northern hemisphere) is in February just before the Sun rises. He is BIG, lives low on the southern horizon and moves from the east to the west. As each month passes you can see him rising earlier and earlier until he is up in the sky way before the Sun rises. By the time August rolls around you can easily see him all night long on cloudless nights, if you have an open horizon to the south.
The Scorpion also known as the constellation Scorpius has one bright, reddish, star that gleams among his curving chain of stars. This is the Scorpion's heart. This red star is called Antares and rivals the planet Mars with its ruddy coloring. The orbit of Mars often places it near Antares and as a result many people confuse the two. Before Mars was called Mars by the Romans, it was called Ares by the Greeks. Antares literally means "against Ares," "the Rival of Ares." This red heart star will help you find the Scorpion in the sky. Once you find Scorpius look for a grouping of stars which forms his stinger, the tip of the fishhook, or the end of the "J". These stars are Bunny's footprints! You might wonder how this could be ...
The Navajos may have been the first to recognize these stars as "Rabbit Tracks." From these tracks, they could picture the rabbit hopping along in the sand, and if they were hungry enough, rabbit might appear to them offering itself as food. For the Navajo, these four stars are "the Hunters Guide." They appear just before sunrise when winter weather breaks. Earlier and earlier they rise as the young rabbits are born down here on Earth. By summer, they are standing upright in the evening sky as darkness comes. When fall arrives, they are tipped on an angle to the southwest: the signal for Navajos that it is time to hunt.
Tracking Bunny's Footprints in the Sky
These four gleaming stars in the Scorpion, which the Navajo call the Rabbit Tracks, can be found in the sky throughout the year with the exception of two months. The table below gives you a pretty good idea of when and where to look along the southern horizon. Look for a pair of tracks close together, side by side, with another, more widely separated pair in a vertical line below.
This pattern of stars that make up the tail of Scorpius is a perfect set of rabbit tracks. Remember what they look like; allow their magic to sparkle in your heart and in your mind's eye; then, look for them in the sky. Perhaps you can even find another group of stars that remind you of Bunny's playful tracks. Go out and find them. Look for them in the sky, the sand and the snow!
Thanks, Von Del Chamberlain, for the Native American images and insights!
Your friends at Bunny Hollow