Hercules Nebula

By Harley White posted 04-19-2023 13:04


Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

Hercules Nebula

Some called it a turtle, this nebula faint,

known as NGC sixty-two ten,

of lazuline hues and pastel pinkish paint,

within Hercules constellation’s constraint,

telescopically in our ken.

While colors by ionized oxygen caused

seem daubed with impressionistic strokes

like subtle magenta, in dying star paused,

concretely explained in couched verbiage claused,

the gouache a vast masterpiece evokes.

In Roman mythology, Hercules stood

for champion and protector great

of those who were weakest, a hero of good

with vigorous strength, still in all likelihood

his problems began, stories relate,

at birth, being fathered by Jupiter god

of sky, immortal, but mothered by

Alcmena, through usage of trickery’s prod

when Jupiter, cloaked in her husband’s façade,

with the lady slept in manner sly.

Then Juno, the wife of Jupiter, instead

of wrath at her husband turned it on

the woman whom Jupiter duped into bed

as well as the baby unborn, so it’s said,

though blame lay with spousal liaison.

A myriad interpretations are found

regarding the Herculean tale.

To choose ‘mongst the numerous myths that abound

I picked one pertaining to stargazing ground

and home galactic from whence we hail.

That version recounts that the infant was left

by mother Alcmena in the wild

to guard him from Juno’s divinity heft

supposing the child of his parent bereft

would survive to receive treatment mild.

But goddess Minerva encountered the boy,

assumed him to be an orphaned lad

in need of nourishment, and sought to employ

Juno’s suckling at her own breast to enjoy

when nursing him with the milk she had.

This nurtured him until her nipple he bit

upon which she pushed him off in pain,

therefrom the spilled liquid the firmament lit

by spreading across the night sky in its flit

to form Milky Way’s celestial lane.

Nonetheless, in feeding the babe from her breast

the goddess with further strength imbued

young Hercules, more inadvertently blessed

through Juno’s provision as legends attest

than ere, as if by fortune pursued.

Still, he wasn’t only physically strong,

Heraclitus, philosopher Greek

maintained, but wisdom and intellect along

with corporal forcefulness impressed the throng

of those who praised his features unique.

The labors of Hercules numbering twelve

allegorically sometimes read

are not subject matter that researchers shelve

but into which authors diverse dig and delve

like Hercule Poirot in Christie’s thread.

These efforts ‘impossible’ had been applied

due to Juno’s vindictive desires

and Hercules’ madness at whose own hand died

his family, from Juno’s excessive pride

that caught him in insanity’s mires.

Oh tragic the consequences of her rage

that made him his wife and children kill!

He repented when returned to judgement sage

plus could earn himself immortality’s stage

through feats that Hercules would fulfill.

By means of twelve labors he was to atone,

which Juno’s machinations made worse

albeit to rueful Hercules unknown,

so he traveled the world in these tests alone

to satisfy Juno’s wants perverse.

Aye those gods and goddesses seem unashamed

of the carnal emotions they feel.

Two labors of his which are rightfully famed

were capture of dreaded Cerberus, untamed,

plus golden apples he had to steal.

In ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ where Yeats

has lyricized those grand apples gold,

of Hesperides reminiscent in traits,

at end, ‘golden apples of the sun’ he states,

that line by fans cited, young and old.

Yet let’s let the stargazers back in the scene

with nebula planetary bright

though small in its thrall of the last gasping mien,

here viewed through the Hubble scope camera keen

in representation brought to light.

It’s six thousand five hundred light-years away

in Hercules constellated fold—

far off from terraqueous willings at play,

so primitive still in the mind’s disarray—

where lie unfathomed wonders untold…

How long or much longer can Mankind survive

and so-called humanity exist?

Perhaps we should quest inwardly while alive,

in addition for cosmic beyonds to strive—

or might life take on a further twist?

~ Harley White

* * * * * * * * *

A source of inspiration was the following…

NGC 6210 (Wikipedia)…


Image explanation: NGC 6210 is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Hercules… This object was first recorded as a star-like feature by Joseph Lalande on March 22, 1799. However, credit for the discovery of a nebula goes to Wilhelm Struve in 1825. John L. E. Dreyer described it as, “a planetary nebula, very bright, very small, round, disc and border”.

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA