Head of Leda by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).
Click on image for full size
For the ancient Greeks, the constellation Cygnus
, which means "swan", was related to the myth of Zeus
(called Jupiter by Romans) and the goddess Nemesis. In order to escape from Zeus, Nemesis
changed herself into many different animals. When she changed into a
goose, Zeus transformed himself into a wonderful swan and won the love of Nemesis.
The goddess delivered an egg and then abandoned it. A shepherd found the egg and gave it to Leda, the wife of Tyndareus, the king
of Sparta. From that egg came Helen of Troy. Helen was so beautiful that Leda claimed her
as her own child. The constellation Cygnus was formed to celebrate the lovely swan.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief god for the Navajo. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four directions, or cardinal points, are supported by a giant. Each direction is symbolized...more
Amphitrite was one of the sea-nymphs called the Nereids. One day the sea god Poseidon saw her dancing and fell desperately in love with her. He promptly asked her to marry him but unfortunately she refused....more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. To the perfection of her figure and the purity of her features she added an innocent grace. On her sweet face she...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera swore to kill Heracles, the most famous Greek...more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more
According to Navajo mythology, the Milky Way was created by the mischievous behavior of the god, Coyote. When the world was created, the Holy People gathered around Black God to place the stars in the...more