The red star in the South

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by Erestor Arcamen, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. Erestor Arcamen

    Erestor Arcamen Archivist Staff Member

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    Page 267, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Ring Goes South.

    Does anyone have any idea what this red star is? Or is it just a that, a star? I dont know but it isnt possible it could be the eye of Sauron is it? I mean that's really far away and all. I don know anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. Barliman Butterbur

    Barliman Butterbur Worthy Keeper/Bree Roué

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    Re: Red Star?

    I would imagine that this is the Middle-earth equivalent of Mars, which appears with a reddish light under certain atmospheric conditions.

    Barley
     

  3. GuardianRanger

    GuardianRanger Calmindon

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    Re: Red Star?

    An alternative....

    According to the Tale of Years...

    Frodo recovers and wakes [in Rivendell] on October 24. The company sets out from Rivendell on December 25th.

    If Frodo truely saw a red star, he probably would have seen Aldebaran, which is the Eye of Taurus, and is in between Orion and Pleiades in the south eastern sky.

    Aldebaran is easy to see in late October, through the winter, as it is a bright red star. Mars, the planet, is typically viewable in the summer months and is occaisionally around in the fall/winter.

    Just my take.
     
  4. Urambo Tauro

    Urambo Tauro Registered User

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    Re: Red Star?

    An excerpt from Saruman's book in the films mentions the "red star of Sauron".
    Saruman's book is kind of like his personal notebook, so when you read it, you find many fragments and ideas. A couple of quotes read: (I left it all capitalized, since there are no capitalization marks in the Tengwar Saruman uses)
    These are from the film version, so I don't think they bear much weight, but it seems as though it might have something with your "red star".
    Do the books ever mention the "red star of Sauron"?
     

  5. Urambo Tauro

    Urambo Tauro Registered User

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    Re: Red Star?

    I found something in the Quenta Silmarillion...
    Chapter III, Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor mentions "Carnil", its very name describing it as "red".
    This appears to have nothing to do with Sauron, though...
    Still curious about a "red star of Sauron"... Your quote from TLOTR seems to label the star as "hostile" in some way.
     
  6. Ciryaher

    Ciryaher Witch of Resurrection

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    Re: Red Star?

    I have forgotten what the name of the star was according to the book...hmm...I always took it to be Sirius, the Dog-Star, which is red and quite luminous.
     
  7. GuardianRanger

    GuardianRanger Calmindon

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    Re: Red Star?

    I believe Sirius is either white or blue. Sirius is one of the highest magnitude stars (outside of the sun) visible in the night sky. Coincidently, it is visible in the northern hemisphere, now, after 9:00 (from my location) below Orion.


    Urambo Tauro, just a quick question...where did you see what was written in Saruman's book? Did you just stop your movie, or is there a site with the book blown up so you can see the detail? That looks pretty interesting.
     
  8. Barliman Butterbur

    Barliman Butterbur Worthy Keeper/Bree Roué

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    Re: Red Star?


    Pardon my abysmal lack when it comes to astronomy — but if a sun was red, wouldn't that mean it was a giant star ready to go out? Is Aldebaran like that? Are there visible stars that we can see that are so old that they actually glow red? (And let us not forget that Mars is a red planet, not a star). Please correct any misconceptions I may have!

    Barley
     
  9. Eledhwen

    Eledhwen Cumbrian

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    Red Star? Maybe I'm being idle, but...

    9.00, and you give your location as 'the swamps of Jersey'. I have been to the Channel Islands (about the same longitude as me and a little south), and there aren't any swamps big enough to be inhabitable, so I assume you mean a different Jersey. How many hours backwards/forwards do I have to count to view this? I recognise Orion by sight; so where do I look from there?
     
  10. GuardianRanger

    GuardianRanger Calmindon

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    Re: Red Star?

    :D
    "the swamps of Jersey" that I reside in refer to New Jersey, in the U.S. (The swamps of Jersey coming from a line from Bruce Springsteen's song "Rosalita".)

    Anyway, I think we are 5 hours behind you. At least, the time on the bottom of my screen here at TTF reads GMT - 5.

    If you can find Orion by sight, wait until Orion is a little higher in the sky. Since you know Orion: Rigel is the star in the "foot" of the right leg. That's pretty bright. Betelgeuse is the star of his left shoulder. Sirius will be to the left of Betelgeuse, and below Orion all together. A good pointer is to follow the sword belt left. They "point" right at Sirius. It will be really bright, you won't be able to miss it. My star chart shows it rises (here) around 7:00 pm, but that would put it on the horizon. It takes a good two and half hours for it to be above tree tops. And just for reference, my star chart is for lattitudes 30 degrees to 50 degrees.

    I've attached a mini picture as to where to find it.
     

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  11. GuardianRanger

    GuardianRanger Calmindon

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    Re: Red Star?

    Sorry Barliman, missed your post. You are correct in that Aldebaran is an old star, so old that it has used up all of it's hydrogen and is burning other fuels.

    I've attached another image on how to find Aldebaran. It's just as easy. Follow the three stars of the belt of Orion, this time follow them right. They will point to Aldebaran. If you look just beyond Aldebaran in the same direction, you will see the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters; an open star cluster.

    An just a note here, I'm no scientist, just an amateur back yard astronomer.
     

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  12. Barliman Butterbur

    Barliman Butterbur Worthy Keeper/Bree Roué

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    Re: Red Star?

    I wish I could say as much! I don't even have a telescope. Hell, I don't even have a back yard!

    (But in the book, when the red star is referred to — could they mean the Middle-earth version of Mars rather than Aldeberan?)

    Barley
     
  13. GuardianRanger

    GuardianRanger Calmindon

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    Re: Red Star?

    (I have a backyard, and a telescope, but; because of suburbia, I can't see as much as I'd like.)

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand....

    A while back, I remember surfing the internet trying to combine two of my favorite hobbies; The Lord of the Rings, and Astronomy. I remember I found a great site that was a talk on the astonomy of the Lord of the Rings, and gave good examples/proofs.

    Well, I seemed to have lost the site. And when I try to google on "astronomy" and "lord of the rings" I received a ton of sites on Saturn. All of them used the predictable "The Real Lord Of The Rings" title. (Not that the pictures and data coming back from Saturn isn't awesome...they are beyond awesome.)

    Anyway, after performing another exhaustive search, I think I found what I originally read. And it's a great read. With some cool pictures.

    I believe the answer will settle all questions arising from this thread. And for what it's worth, the author is a professor of physics and astronomy.

    So, without further ado, here it
    is.

    I hope you all enjoy it!
    :)

    (For what it's worth, I would have loved to have worked on this project when I was in college. <sigh>)
     
  14. Barliman Butterbur

    Barliman Butterbur Worthy Keeper/Bree Roué

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    Re: Red Star?

    Wahoo! I bookmarked it before it got away! Thanks!

    Barley
     
  15. Eledhwen

    Eledhwen Cumbrian

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    Re: Red Star?

    Thanks. I think the time info, which works for the sun and moon, isn't right for the stars, as I could see Orion clearly over Windsor Castle at about 8pm two nights ago (the last time it was clear) whilst travelling home from London. Your directions to Sirius etc are very clear, and I'll look out for it on the next clear night.

    As for Erestor's question about the red star, I don't think it's Sauron's star, visible from Rivendell, unless Frodo was seeing it by some keen-ness of sight like he experienced on Amon Hen. Gandalf had already noticed a change in him, and he saw more than the others in Moria. But if it was Sauron's eye, it was not just enhanced optical vision, as there were many mountain ranges in between.
     
  16. Urambo Tauro

    Urambo Tauro Registered User

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    Re: Red Star?

    GuardianRanger, you can find pages from Saruman's book here.
    You may be on to something there, Eledhwen. I had forgotten about Frodo's "enhanced senses" following the stab he received on Weathertop.
    The more I think about it, the more the text leads me to think it's related to Sauron in some way.
     
  17. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    I love this description and I've always taken the red star to be a symbol of Saruman, his and his servants' prying eyes trying to penetrate the veils and see what our friends are up to in Rivendell. Perhaps the red colour of it could even be associated with the bloodshed that Saruman would inflict upon the Rohirrim.

    Anyone else interpret it this way?

    As for the star itself, at a guess I think this may be Antares (brightest star in the Scorpio constellation) or even Mars (though it's not a star per se, but a planet), both of which are noticeably red.
     
  18. Inderjit S

    Inderjit S Bootylicious

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    I always thought it was a reference to Sauron-especially the "watchful eye" bit-it seemed Sauron-like to me.
     
  19. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    I agree the 'watchful eye' part is very much reminiscent of Sauron. Perhaps I was swayed to think of Saruman rather than Sauron because the star lay in the southern skies, in the direction of Isengard. Also, Sauron, or rather his servants the Nazgul, seem to have been beaten for a time, and there was no immediate threat from Sauron for a time, and the threat of Saruman the traitor was much more near at hand (the crebain?).
     
  20. Inderjit S

    Inderjit S Bootylicious

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    Perhaps, but maybe he was also looking for the ringbearer-who he knew would have been Imladris if the Nazgul had reached him (hence him looking north) or maybe he was looking for what happened to the Nazgul if they hadn't reached him. Sauron was not one to give up easily!
     

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