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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

Cancer, the Crab

Cancer, the Crab October 4, 2011

Pisces, the fish

Pisces, the Fish October 4, 2011

Aries, the ram

Aries, the Ram October 4, 2011

Aquila, the Eagle

Aquila, the Eagle May 25, 2010

Radio Programs

Pyxis and Antlia Going high-tech in the night sky — after this. April 13, 2016

Big Dipper Clock Ticking off the hours of the night January 22, 2016

End of the River A river that ends twice January 17, 2016

Winter Circle Circling around the winter sky December 26, 2015

El Nath Sharing a bright star December 20, 2015

Sculptor Looking into a galactic well December 10, 2015

Stairsteps Stepping up the evening sky July 11, 2015

Moon in Balance Bringing a constellation into balance May 30, 2015

The Crow A confusing layout for a faint constellation May 16, 2015

Starry Spokes Circling the hub of the northern sky May 14, 2015

Hercules Handing down pictures of the stars May 10, 2015

El Nath Location, location, location May 2, 2015

The Hunting Dogs A pair of hunting dogs without much bite March 15, 2015

Camelopardalis Spotting a spotted constellation March 13, 2015

Monoceros Creating a celestial unicorn February 8, 2015

Winter Circle A brilliant ring around the Moon January 29, 2015

Quadrantid Meteors The changing landscape of the sky January 1, 2015

Capella Guiding the way to a horn of plenty October 24, 2014

Celestial Sea The Moon swims in the Celestial Sea October 4, 2014

Enif The leading lights of Pegasus September 9, 2014

Little Pictures Little star pictures in the summer sky August 13, 2014

Bear’s Lodge Looking down from the Big Dipper April 18, 2014

Bright and Fast A bright star that’s in a hurry April 14, 2014

‘Minor’ Constellations “Minor” constellations with major sights March 29, 2014

Crow and Cup The crow gets in a spot of bother March 22, 2014

Moon and More Companions Taking aim at the scorpion’s claw March 18, 2014

Hint of Spring A hint of spring in the evening sky February 8, 2014

Southern Slivers Slivers of stars in the southern sky February 1, 2014

Moon and Regulus One set of stars, two pictures January 17, 2014

Moon and Mars A change of address for Mars November 25, 2013

More Moon and Jupiter Patching up the night sky November 20, 2013

The Disrespected Two “slithery” constellations October 25, 2013

Watery Skies Casting off into the Celestial Sea October 21, 2013

The Coathanger Gazing deep into a coat hanger September 25, 2013

Vulpecula The fox and goose in the night sky September 22, 2013

Alpheratz One star, two constellations September 11, 2013

Zubeneschamali Balancing the scorpion’s claws July 12, 2013

Odd Ophiuchus An odd shape with a grand distinction June 28, 2013

Summer Triangle Creating pictures in the stars June 11, 2013

The Hunting Dogs Chasing the great bear May 22, 2013

Hercules The strongman strides across the night sky May 17, 2013

Nicolas Louis de Lacaille Mapping southern skies May 14, 2013

Big and Little “Extreme” constellations May 4, 2013

Moon in Taurus Drawing some stellar pictures April 12, 2013

Puppis A naming slight for a leading light April 1, 2013

Argo Navis Sailing across the southern sky March 31, 2013

Great Square of Pegasus Connecting the dots of a starry square January 18, 2013

Altair A close and fast-moving neighbor July 10, 2012

In the Balance The Moon slips past the scorpion’s claws June 28, 2012

Leo Minor Stars without much flash June 22, 2012

Serpens Piecing together a celestial snake May 11, 2012

Leo’s Outlines Outlining the celestial lion March 16, 2012

The Reindeer An extra reindeer for Santa’s sleigh December 23, 2011

Fire and Water Fire and water in the night sky December 2, 2011

Fishy Constellations Fishing for constellations October 22, 2011

Border Star A star with a double identity September 8, 2011

Hydra A big but meager monster April 22, 2011

Crater Sipping from a faint celestial cup April 8, 2011

Moon and Antares The Moon crosses the serpent bearer March 23, 2011

Changing Skies Looking forward to the Big Handivac February 23, 2011

Clockwork Skies Plotting the motions of the sky February 15, 2011

Johannes Hevelius Filling in some gaps in the sky January 28, 2011

The Camel Leopard Spotting a spotted constellation January 3, 2011

Quadrantid Meteors Tracers of a bygone constellation January 1, 2011

Featured Images

The constellation Corvus, near brilliant Spica

Sailing On May 17, 2015

The Great Square of Pegasus

Double Duty September 12, 2013

Phoenix and Grus in the southern sky, late November evening

Rare Birds November 28, 2011