This is a question from a previous, now-defunct version of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, that I've posted here as an exemplar of one of the difficult puzzles you might encounter while solving it. This was one of the last puzzles I'd created before rebooting that section of my website, and nobody to my knowledge had solved it on their own before I put it here.

Quetzalcoatl shoots a straight, thin beam of red light out of his mouth, like a laser beam, and points it at a group of stars. He starts flicking and swishing this beam of light, appearing to make it cut hot scars into the night sky. When he is done, you see a series of lines, in the form of a constellation:

Constellation 1

And behind you, directly opposite of where Quetzalcoatl drew his original image, you see the exact same image burned into the empty, starless sky, but now with a single point of light shining brightly next to it:

Opposite of first constellation

Quetzalcoatl asks you, "Do you know, my student, what star that is?"

  • $\begingroup$ Nobody managed to answer it on their own, but I held one person's hand through it. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 3 '15 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, dear master, I lost you when you said QuetzalcoatI, could you pronounce that again? $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Mar 3 '15 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ It's like "ke-tzel-kwa-tel"? $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 3 '15 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ That kind of looks like orion and sirius. But the stars don't exactly match. Is this taken from some place far from the solar system? $\endgroup$ Mar 3 '15 at 7:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In any case, the reason the star on the opposite side is the only star that shows up is because all the stars on that side of the sky were artificially put out, not because it's brighter than any of the other stars. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 3 '15 at 8:09

The star is Gamma Ophiuchi


The "hydra" is made up of Canis major and Orion. Sirius, Orion's nebula and the belt of Orion are quite well visible. The required star seems to be the antipode of the point got by extending Orion's belt by half its length to one side. The approximate coordinates of the point are (5h 45m, -2d 45m) giving the antipode to be (17h 45m, 2d 45m). Gamma Ophiuchi is the closest star there.

  • $\begingroup$ Ding ding ding! Good job, somebody finally solved it on their own! $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 3 '15 at 8:36
  • $\begingroup$ You got the reasoning right and everything. I assumed that this riddle would be relatively simple when I created it, but nobody seemed to understand what to do. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 3 '15 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I used to be a tiny bit of an amateur astronomer in my past life. $\endgroup$ Mar 3 '15 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ In particular, nobody seemed to be able to figure out that those three stars were Orion's belt. I cropped Betelgeuse out of the picture on purpose, but I didn't think it would make it that much harder. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 3 '15 at 16:34

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