Constellations and Asterisms

Constellations are patterns of stars visible to the unaided eye, or regions of space seen from Earth that are bounded by borders designated by the International Astronomical Union. Asterisms are also naked-eye star patterns, but they do not form constellations on their own. An example is the Big Dipper, which is part of Ursa Major. Americans know northern hemisphere constellations by the names given them by ancient Babylonians and Greeks. Seafaring explorers named those in the southern hemisphere. Every culture created its own constellations, although most of those in use today came from western sources.

Resources

Aquila, the Eagle Aquila glides on outstretched wings through the...
Cancer, the Crab Although it is one of the constellations of the...
Pisces, the Fish In the lore of the sky, spring is associated...
Aries, the Ram Aries, the ram, is a faint pattern marked by...

Radio Programs

Bright and Fast A bright star that’s in a hurry Tuesday, April 15, 2014
‘Minor’ Constellations “Minor” constellations with major sights Sunday, March 30, 2014
Crow and Cup The crow gets in a spot of bother Sunday, March 23, 2014
Moon and More Companions Taking aim at the scorpion’s claw Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Hint of Spring A hint of spring in the evening sky Sunday, February 9, 2014
Southern Slivers Slivers of stars in the southern sky Sunday, February 2, 2014
Moon and Regulus One set of stars, two pictures Saturday, January 18, 2014
Moon and Mars A change of address for Mars Tuesday, November 26, 2013
More Moon and Jupiter Patching up the night sky Thursday, November 21, 2013
The Disrespected Two “slithery” constellations Saturday, October 26, 2013
Watery Skies Casting off into the Celestial Sea Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The Coathanger Gazing deep into a coat hanger Thursday, September 26, 2013
Vulpecula The fox and goose in the night sky Monday, September 23, 2013
Alpheratz One star, two constellations Thursday, September 12, 2013
Zubeneschamali Balancing the scorpion’s claws Saturday, July 13, 2013
Odd Ophiuchus An odd shape with a grand distinction Saturday, June 29, 2013
Summer Triangle Creating pictures in the stars Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The Hunting Dogs Chasing the great bear Thursday, May 23, 2013
Hercules The strongman strides across the night sky Saturday, May 18, 2013
Nicolas Louis de Lacaille Mapping southern skies Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Big and Little “Extreme” constellations Sunday, May 5, 2013
Moon in Taurus Drawing some stellar pictures Saturday, April 13, 2013
Puppis A naming slight for a leading light Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Argo Navis Sailing across the southern sky Monday, April 1, 2013
Great Square of Pegasus Connecting the dots of a starry square Saturday, January 19, 2013
Altair A close and fast-moving neighbor Wednesday, July 11, 2012
In the Balance The Moon slips past the scorpion’s claws Friday, June 29, 2012
Leo Minor Stars without much flash Saturday, June 23, 2012
Serpens Piecing together a celestial snake Saturday, May 12, 2012
Leo’s Outlines Outlining the celestial lion Saturday, March 17, 2012
The Reindeer An extra reindeer for Santa’s sleigh Saturday, December 24, 2011
Fire and Water Fire and water in the night sky Saturday, December 3, 2011
Fishy Constellations Fishing for constellations Sunday, October 23, 2011
Border Star A star with a double identity Friday, September 9, 2011
Hydra A big but meager monster Saturday, April 23, 2011
Crater Sipping from a faint celestial cup Saturday, April 9, 2011
Moon and Antares The Moon crosses the serpent bearer Thursday, March 24, 2011
Changing Skies Looking forward to the Big Handivac Thursday, February 24, 2011
Clockwork Skies Plotting the motions of the sky Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Johannes Hevelius Filling in some gaps in the sky Saturday, January 29, 2011
The Camel Leopard Spotting a spotted constellation Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Quadrantid Meteors Tracers of a bygone constellation Sunday, January 2, 2011
Sun Moves Following the path of the Sun Saturday, December 18, 2010
Sculptor Chiseling a faint constellation Sunday, December 5, 2010
Celestial Sea The Moon takes a dip in the sea Thursday, October 21, 2010
Royal Bonus A bright jewel for the queen Sunday, September 19, 2010
Twin Crowns Crowning the night sky Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sagittarius Taking aim at a starry teapot Monday, August 2, 2010
Little Constellations Stacking three small constellations Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Moon, Venus, and El Nath Linking the bull and the charioteer Saturday, May 15, 2010
Double Dippers Dipping into the mythology of the sky Saturday, April 3, 2010
March Ram March goes out like a grown-up lamb Saturday, March 27, 2010
The Race Track Racing around the night sky Thursday, March 18, 2010
Puppis Splitting up a giant ship Friday, February 19, 2010
Auriga An intoxicating stellar mystery Saturday, January 30, 2010
The Dove Escape from Orion Saturday, December 26, 2009
The Crane A crane strides across the southern horizon Friday, December 4, 2009
Moon and Taurus Drawing an ancient star-picture Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Microscopium Filling the starry gaps Saturday, October 17, 2009
Piscis Austrinus A fish that backs across the sky Friday, October 9, 2009
Sun in Cancer Birthday greetings for Cancers Sunday, August 2, 2009
Equuleus A tiny colt gallops across the sky Sunday, July 12, 2009
Sextans New charts with old technology Sunday, June 14, 2009
Moon and Spica Shifting around the stars Friday, February 13, 2009
Cats Cats roam the stellar pridelands Saturday, January 24, 2009
Winter Circle Circling through the stars Friday, January 16, 2009
Moon and Regulus Avoiding the jaws of the lion Monday, January 12, 2009
Quadrantid Meteors Measuring a winter meteor shower Friday, January 2, 2009

Featured Images

The Great Square of Pegasus
Double Duty Thursday, September 12, 2013
Phoenix and Grus in the southern sky, late November evening
Rare Birds Monday, November 28, 2011
First Meteors Wednesday, January 2, 2008

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