Constellations: Brief Information (What is a Line?)
Constellation Name/English Name:
2. Antila/Air Pump
3. Apus/Bird of Paradise
4. Aquarius/Water Carrier
13. Canes Venatici/Hunting Dogs
14. Canis Major/Great Dog
15. Canis Minor/Little Dog
25. Coma Berenices/Berenice's Hair
26. Corona Australis/Southern Crown
27. Corona Borealis/Nothern Crown
36. Eridanus/River Eridanus
42. Hydra/Water Snake
43. Hydrus/Little Water Snake
47. Leo Minor/Little Lion
53. Mensa/Table Mountain
59. Ophiuchus/Serpent Bearer
62. Pegasus/Winged Horse
65. Pictor/Painter's Easel
67. Piscis Austrinus/Southern Fish
69. Pyxis/Ship's Compass
81. Triangulum Australe/Southern Triangle
83. Ursa Major/Great Bear
84. Ursa Minor/Little Bear
87. Volans/Flying Fish
All following information on constellations from 'Philip's Star Finder' (ISBN 978-0-540-08818-8), Dorling Kindersley Stars and Planets (ISBN 978-0-7513-2712-0), and http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/constellation_list.html
-One of the most famous constellations, Andromeda depicts the princess in Greek myth who was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to the sea monster, but was saved by the hero Perseus. The constellation contains the nearest major galaxy to us, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, which is the most distant object visible to the naked eye.
-Antila is a faint constellation, considerably overshadowed by it's glorious southern neighbours Centaurus and Vela. Antila was invented in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille abd represents a mechanical air pump. It's brightest star is Alpha Antliae, magnitude 4.3.
-Apus lies near the south celestial pole, to the south of centaurus. It is not easy to identify and contains few objects of note. It is one of the constellations invented at the end of the 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman, and represents a bird of paradise in New Guinea. It's brightest star is Alpha Apodis, magnitude 3.8.
-This well-known constellation represents a youth pouring water from a jar. The "Water-jar" is represented by a Y-shaped group of four stars, Gamma, Zeta, Eta and Pi Aquarii. The stream of water flows into the mouth of a large fish, represented by the constellation of Piscis Austrinus to the south. Aquarius is a constellation of the zodiac, the Sun passing through it from 16 February to 11 March.
-Aquila lies on the celestial equator and represents the eagle that carried the thunderbolts of the Greek God Zeus. The Milky Way passes through the constellation, and there are dense star fields towards the border with Scutum; the brightest part is an area known as the Scutumn Star Cloud.
-Ara lies in the Milky Way, south of Scorpius. It is well to the south of the celestial equator but was known to the ancient Greeks, who visualized it as the altar on which heir Gods swore an oath of allegiance before challenging the Titans for control of the Universe. It is also depicted as the altar on which Centaurus is about to sacrifice Lupus, the wolf.
-Aries depicts the ram with the golden fleece, famous from Greek mythology. It's only noticeable feature is a line of three stars: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Arietis. It is a constellation of the zodiac, the Sun passing through it from 18 April to 14 May. Aries lies between Pisces and Taurus.
-Auriga represents the driver of a horse-drawn chariot. According to one myth, he is Erichthonius, a legendary king of Athens. However, there is no explanation in mythology for this depiction in the sky with a goat and it's kid on his left arm. The goat is marked by the constellation's brightest star, Capella (a Latin name, meaning "she-goat"), while the kids (also known as Haedi, another Latin name) are depicted by Zeta and Eta Aurigae. In Greek and Roman times, the figure's right foot was represented by a star now assigned to Taurus, Beta Tauri.
-Bootes is an elongated constellation depicting a man herding a bear, represented by Ursa Major, The name of it's brightest star, Arcturus, is Greek for "bear guard". The northern part of Bootes contains the daint stars that formed the now-defunct constellation of Quadrans Muralis, the mural (or wall) quadrant, which gave it's name to the Quadrantid meteor shower that radiates from this area every January.
-Caelum is a small, faint constellation in an inconspicuous area of the southern-hemisphere sky. It represents a stone-mason's chisel and was introduced into the sky in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. It's brighest star, Alpha Caeli, is of magnitude 4.4.
-The faint constellation of the northern sky, representing a giraffe, was introduced in the early 17th century by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius. An obsolete variant of it's name is Camelopardus.
-Cancer represents the crab that, in Greek mythology, was crushed underfoot by Hercules during his battle with the multi-headed Hydra. It lies between Gemini and Leo and it's the faintest constellation of the zodiac, it's brightest star, Beta Cancri, is of magnitude 3.5. The Sun is within Cancer's boundaries from 20 July until 10 August.
13. Canes Venatici:
-Canes Venatici represents two hunting dogs, held on a leash by the herdsman Bootes. The constellation was formed in 1687 by Johannes Hevelius from stars that has formely been part of Ursa Major.
14. Canis Major:
-One of the most prominent constellations, Canis Major is embellished by the brightest of all the stars, Sirius. It depicts the larger of the two dogs belonging to Orion, the hunter (the other being represented by Canis Minor). As the Earth rotatesm the dogs seem to follow the hunter across the sky.
15. Canis Minor:
-Canis Minor represents the smaller of the two dogs of Orion, the hunter. Both Orion and Canis Major, which depicts the larger dog, lie nearby. Apart from it's two brightest stars, Canis Minor contains little of note.
-The smallest constellation of the zodiac, lying between Sagittarius and Aquarius, Capriconus depicts a fish-tailed goat. The constellation originated among the Babylonian and Sumerian peoples of the Middle East, but in Greek myth it is linked with the goat-like god Pan, who turned his lower half into a fish to escape the sea monster Typhon. Capricornus is not prominent: it's brightest star, Delta Capricorni (Deneb Algedi), is of a magnitude 2.9. The sun passes through it from 19 January to 16 February.
-Carina is an impressive constellation, containing the second-brightest star of all, Canopus, and lying in a rich part of the Milky Way. In Greek times, it formed part of the much larger constellation, Argo Navis, representing the ship of the Argonauts, but was made seperate in the 18th century by the Frenchman Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. It represents the ship's keel, with Canopus marking the rudder. The other parts of the ship- Vela (the sails) and Puppis (the stern)- lie to the north of Carina.
-This attractive constellation represents the mythical Queen Cassiopeia. Her husband and daughter are represented by the adjacent constellations Cepheus and Andromeda. Cassiopeia was notoroiously vain, and is depicted sitting on a throne, fussing with her hair. Cassiopeia's brightest stars form a distinctive W-shape. Epsilon Cassiopiae, at one end of the W, marks the queen's ankle, while Beta, at the other end, lies in her shoulder.
-This large constellation in the southern Milky Way depeicts a centaur, the mythical beast with the legs of a horse and the upper body of a man. In Greek mythology, the centaur is identified as Chiron, tutor of the offspring of the Gods. It's brightest starm Alpha Centauri, is the third brightest in the sky. A line drawn between Alpha and Beta Centauri points to the Southern Crossm Crux.
-This far-nothern constellation, adjoining Cassiopeia and extending almost to the north celestial pole, represents the mythical King Cepheus, the husband of the vain Queen Cassiopeia and father of Andromeda. It's brightest star is Alpha Cephei, of magnitude 2.5.
-Cetus, which straddles the celestial equator south of Pisces and Aries, is a large constellation representing the mythical sea monster from whose jaws Andromeda was rescued by the hero Perseus. The brightest star in the constellation is Beta Ceti, magnitude 2.0.
Chamaeleon is a small, faint constellation near the south celestial pole. Introfuced at the end of the 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman, it depictd a chamaeleon, the lizard that changes it's skin colour to camouflage itself. It's brightest stars are of 4th magnitude.
-This small constellation next to Centarus was introduced in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. It represents a pair of dividing compasses, of the type used by surveyors and chart makers, and is suitably placed in the sky next to Norma, the level. Despite it's insignificance, Circinus is easy to find since it lies next to Alpha Centuari in Centaurus. Although it is in the Milky Way, it contains no notable star clusters.
-Columba was introduced in the late 16th century by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius, who create it from stars near Canis Major. It represents Noah's dove.
25. Coma Berenices:
-This constellation represents the hair of Queen Berenice of Eygpt. According to legend, she cut off her locks to thank the Gods for the safe return of her husband, King Ptolemy, from battle. It was formed in the 16th century by Geradus Mercator, the Dutch cartographer, from a group of faint stars that the Greeks regarded as the tail of Leo. The galaxies in it's southern region belong to the Virgo cluster.
26. Cornoa Australis:
-The acient Greeks visualised this small but pretty constellation as a wreath lying at the forefeet of Sagittarius. It's main feature is an arc of stars, distinctive even though the brightest is of only 4th magnitude.
27. Corona Borealis:
-Corona Borealis is a semi-circular pattern lying between Bootes and Hercules. It depicts the crown worn by the mythical Princess Ariadne of Crete, when she married the God Dionysius, who threw it into the sky, where it's jewels turned into stars. Appropriately, it's brightest star, Alpha Coronae Borealis, magnitude 2.2, is named Gemma, latin for "jewel".
-The small constellation south of Virgo represents a crow perched on the coils of Hydra, the water-snake. In Greek mythology, the crow was sent by Apollo to fetch water in a cup (represented by the adjoining constellation of Crater), but greedily stopped to eat figs instead. On it's return, the crow blamed the water-snake for delaying it. But Apollo, who was not fooled by the lie, condemed the crow to a life of thirst, just out of reach of the cup in the heavens. It's brightest star, Gamma Corvi, is of magnitude 2.6.
-This undistinguished constellation represents a cup or chalice. In Greek myth, it is linked with it's neighbouring constellations, Corvus, the crow, and Hydra, the water-snake. Crater's brightest star is Delta Crateris, magnitude 3.6, but it contains no objects of interest for observers using small telescopes.
-The smallest constellation in the sky, Crux covers a mere 5 per cent of the area of the largest constellation, Hyrda. Nevertheless, it is one of the most famous and easily recognised star patterns of all. To the ancient Greeks, it's stars formed part of the hind legs of Centaurus, the centaur. Crux became a recognised constellation in it's own right in the late 16th century as Europeans explored the southern oceans, although no one is credited with it's invention. It lies in a brilliant region of the Milky Way. It's longer axis points to the south celestial pole.
-This large constellation depicts the swan into which, according to Greek myth, the God Zeus tranformed himself for one of his illicit love trysts. One story says that the object of his desire was Queen Leda of Sparta, and that their union produced either one or two eggs, from which hatched the twins Castor and Pollux, as well as Helen of Troy. The swan's beak is marked by Beta Cygni and it's tail by Alpha Cygni, named Deneb (from an Arabic word meaning "tail"). Deneb forms one corner of the Summer Triangle, with Vega (in Lyra) and Altair (in Aquila) marking the other two. Since it is also idenitifiable by it's cross-shape, Cygnus is sometimes called the Northern Cross. It lies in a rich part of the Milky Way.
This small but distinctive constellation is tucked in between Aquila and Pegasus. Delphinius is associated with two different Greek myths. According to one account, it represents the dolphin sent by Poseidon, the sea God, to fetch Amphitrite, a sea nymph, to be his bride. It has also been identified as the dolphin that saved Arion, a poet and musician, when he was attacked on board a ship by a gang of robbers. The constellation's two brightest stars are Alpha and Beta Delphini, magnitudes 3.8 and 3.6 respectively. These stars bear the unusual names Sualocin and Rotanev. When written backwards, the names spell Nicolaus Venator. This is the Latinized version of Niccolo Cacciatore, as astronomer at Palermo Observatory, Italy, who named the stars after himself in the early 19th century.
-Dorado, one of the several southern constellations representing exoric creatures, was introduced in the late 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. It represents not the goldfish found in ornamental ponds but the dolphinfish of tropical seas, a member of the family Coryphaenidae. It has also been depicted as a swordfish. For astronomers, Dorado is significant because it contains the bulk of the large Magellanic Cloud, our nearest neighbouring galaxy. It's brightest star is Alpha Doradus, magnitude 3.3.
-This extensive constellation of the far-northern sky winds around Ursa Minor. It represents the dragon that in Greek mythology guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides, the daughters of Atlas, and which was slain by Hercules as one of his labours. In the sky, Hercules is represented with one foot on the dragon's head. Despite it's considerable size, Draco contains no really prominent stars, the brightest being Gamma Draconis, magnitude 2.2, a red giant about 150 light years away. With the stars Beta, Nu, and Xi Draconis, it forms a lozenge shape that marks the head of the dragon. The constellation is noted chiefly for it's double stars.
-The second-smallest constellation in the sky. Equuleus represents a small horse that lies next to Pegasus, the well-known flying horse. It first appeared among the 48 constellations described by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy, but there appear to be no legends about it. It's brightest star is Alpha Equulei, magnitude 3.9.
-This long, straggling constellation represents a river in Greek mythology. The River Eridanus features in the story of Phaeton, who fell into it after a disastrous attempt to drive the chariot of his father, the sun-God Helios. The constellation extends for nearly 60 degrees from north to south, the greatest range in declination of any constellation.
-Fornax is an undistinguished constellation in an unremarkable area of the sky. It lies on the shores of the celestial river Eridanus and the southern border of Cetus. Invented in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, it represents a chemical furnace.
-A constellation of the zodiac, Gemini depicts the mythological twins Castor and Pollux, after whom it's two brightest stars are named. The twins sailed with the Argonuats in search of the golden fleece, and they were later regarded by the ancient Greeks as patron saints of seafarers. The two stars themselves are not related, though, lying at different distances from us. Gemini sits between Taurus and Cancer, and the Sun passes through it from 21 June and 20 July.
-Grus is one of the dozen southern constellations introduced at the end of the 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. It represents the long-necked wading bird of the family Gruidae. It's brightest star is Alpha Gruis, known as Al Na'ir, magnitude 1.7.
-A large but not prominent constellation depicting the hero of Greek myth. Hercules lies between the bright stars Arcturus and Vega. The body of Hercules is inverted in the sky, the head being marked by Alpha Herculis, in the south, and the feet by the stars to the north. Hercules was ordered by King Eurystheus of Mycenae to perform 12 labours, one of which was to slay a dragon (makred by adjacent Draco). Hercules is depicted resting on his right knee, with his left foot on the dragon's head. The constellation features the brightest globular cluster in nothern skies, M13, and some notable double stars. It's brightest star is Beta Herculis, magnitude 2.8.
-This unrenowned southern constellation invented in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, lies between the bright stars Achernar and Canopus. It represents a pendulum clock, with it's brightest star, Alpha Horologii (magnitude 3.9), marking the pendulum weight.
-Despite being the largest of all the 88 constellations, Hydra is far from prominent. It's head, formed by a loop of six stars of 3rd and 4th magnitudes, lies just north of the celestial equator, under Cancer, while the tip of it's tail is 90 degrees away, between Libra and Centaurus. In Greek mythology, Hydra was a multi-headed monster slain by Hercules as one of his 12 labours. During the fight, Hercules was attacked by a crab, represented by the constellation Cancer. Hydra is also linked with the moral tale involving a crow sent to fetch a cup of water; the crow and cup are depicted by the constellations Corvus and Crater, which are represented lying on Hydra's back.
-This constellation of the far-southern skies was invented in the late 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. Lying between the bright star Archernar and the south celestial pole, it depicts a small water-snake. It should not be confused with the large water-snake, Hydra, known since the time of the ancient Greeks. The constellation's brightest star is Beta Hydri, magnitude 2.8.
-This southern constellation, lying between Pavo and Tucana, was introduced in the late 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. It depicts a native Indian, although from exactly where remains unclear; on old maps, the figure is shown holding arrows and a spear. Indus's brightest star, Alpha Indi, is of magnitude 3.1.
-Lacerta is a small and insignificant constellation of the northern sky on the edge of the Milky Way, sandwiched between Cygnus and Andromeda. It was introduced in the 17th century by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius. It's brightest star is Alpha Lacertae, magnitude 3.8. Three naked-eye novae have erupted within it's boundaries during the 20th century.
-This large, impressive constellation depicts a crouching lion. In Greek myth, tis was the lion that Hercules killed as one of his 12 labours. Leo is a constellation of the zodiac, lying between Cancer and Virgo. The Sun passes through it from 10 August to 16 September.
47. Leo Minor:
-The faint constellation, representing a lion cub, is squeezed between Leo and Ursa Major. It was invented in the 17th century by Johannes Hevelius. It's brightest star is 46 Leonis Minoris, magnitude 3.8, but it contains little to interest owners of small instruments.
-Lepus lies under the feet of Orion, the hunter, and is pursued across the sky by his dog Canis Major. The constellation was known to the ancient Greeks. It's brightest star is Alpha Leporis, magnitude 2.6, whose name, Arneb, comes from the Arabic term meaning "the hare".
-A constellation of the zodiac, Libra lies just south of the celestial equator, between Virgo and Scorpius. Originally, it was seen to represent the claws of Scorpius, the scorpion, which is why it's brightest stars have names that mean the northern and southern claw. Libra was first visualised as a balance by the Romans, over 2,000 years ago, and it is now usually depicted as the scales held by the adjacent figure of Virgo, who is seen as the godess of justice. The Sun passes through libra from 31 October to 23 November.
-Lupus lies in the Milky Way to the south of Libra. It represents a wolf that in Greek and Roman times was visualised as being held on a pole by a centaur, depicted by the adjacent Centaurus. It seems, however, that there are no myths specifically about the wolf. Lupus's brightest star is Alpha Lupi, magnitude 2.3.
-The Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, who invented this faint constellation in the 17th century, named it the Lynx because, he said, only the lynx- eyed would be able to spot it. It lies in the nothern sky between Ursa Major and Auriga, and is surprisingly large- greater in area than Gemini, for example. Except in good dark-sky conditions, naked-eye observers will see little more that it's brightest star. Alpha Lyncis, magnitude 3.1. There are, however, numerous double stars to attract telescope users.
-The prominent constellation of the nothern sky lies between Cygnus and Hercules. It represents the lyre played by Orpheus, the great musician of Greek mythology. Arab astronomers, though, visualised the pattern as an eagle, and the name of it's brightest star, Vega, comes from their term meaning "swopping eagle". Vega forms one corner of a large triangle of stars known to nothern observers as the Summer Triangle, and completed by Deneb (in Cygnus) and Altair (in Aquila).
-This small and faint constellation near the south celestial pole was introduced in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. He named it after Table Mountain, near the modern cape town of South Africa, from where he chartered the southern sky. Mensa's only notable feature is part of the Large Magellanic Cloud, which extends into it from neighbouring Dorado.
-Micorscopium is a faint constellation to the south of Capricornus. It was introduced in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille and represents a microscope. The constellation's brightest star, Gamma and Epsilon Microscopoo, are both of magnitude 4.7.
-Monoceros straddles the celestial equator between Orion and Canis Minor. Introduced in the early 17th century by the Dutchman Petrus Olancius, it represents the mythical unicorn. It's brightest star is Alpha Monocerotis, magnitude 3.9. Monoceros is often overlooked in favour of it's glittering neighbouring constellations, but it lies in the Milky Way and contains much of interest for owners of any size of instrument.
-Musca lies in the Milky Way, to the south of Centaurus and Crux. It depicts a fly and is one of the dozen southern constellations invented in the late 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. It's brightest star is Alpha Muscae, magnitude 2.7.
-Norma lies in the Milky Way between Ara and Lupus. Introduced in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, it depicts a draughtsman's level or set square. It adjoins another Lacaille invention, Circinus, the compasses. There are no stars labelled Alpha or Beta Normae due to boundary changes since Lacaille's time.
-Octains contains the south celestial pole. The constellation, which represents a navigator's octant, a predeccesor of the sectant, was introduced in the 18th century by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. The brightest star is Nu Octantis, an orange giant of magnitude 3.7. Other than it's location at the south celestial pole, there is little notable about Octans.
-This large constellation extends from Hercules in the north, across the celestial equator, to Scorpius in the south. It represents the Greek God of medicine, Asclepius, who is depicted holding a serpent (the constellation Serpens), a traditional symbol for healing. The constellation contains several globular clusters. It's brightest star is Alpha Ophiuchi, magnitude 2.1, also known as Rasalhague, derived from an Arabic term meaning "head of the serpent collector".
-Orion is the most magnificent of all the constellations. Being positioned on the celestial equator, it is visible from most places on Earth. It represents a hunter with his dogs (marked by Canis Major and Canis Minor) at his heels. In Greek mythology, Propm was the son of Posiedon, the sea God. He was supposedly killed by the sting of a scorpion, and his position in the sky is such that he sets as the scorpion (the constellation Scorpius) rises. According to another story, Orion became enamoured of a group of nymphs called the Pleiades, depicted by a star cluster in the adjoining constellation of Taurus. As the Earth turns, Orion seems to chase the Pleiades across the sky. The constellation contains several bright stars, but it's most celebrated feature is the huge nebula (M42) that lies within the hunter's sword, south of the line of three stars marking his belt.
-Pavo, which represents a peacockm is one of the 12 southern constellations invented in the late 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. The constellation's brighest star, Alpha Pavonis, magnitude 1.9, is also named Peacock. Being a modern constellation, there are no myths associated with it.
-This large constellation north of Aquarius and Pisces adjoins Andromeda. It represents the upper body of the winged horse that, in Greek mythology, sprang from the body of Medusa when she was beheaded by Perseus. The most distinctive feature in Pegasus is the Great Square formed by Alpha, Beta and Gamma Pegasi, and Alpha Andromedae. The area inside the square is relatively barren, containing no stars brighter than 4th magnitude.
-Perseus represents the mythological Greek hero who decapitated the fearsome Medusa, whose gaze could turn men to stone. On his way back from the exploit, Perseus rescused Andromeda from the jaws of the sea monster. In the sky, Perseus lies next to Andromeda and her mother, Cassiopeia, forming part of a great tableau depicting the most famous of Greek myths. Perseus is represented brandishing his sword in his right hand, marked
-Phoenix lies near the southern end of Eridanus, close to the bright star Achernar. It is the largest of the 12 constellations invented at the end of the 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman, and represents the mythical bird that was supposedly reborn from the dead body of it's predecessor. It's brightest star is Alpha Phoenicis, magnitude 2.4.
-Pictor is one of the constellations representing instruments of science and the arts that were introduced in the 18th century by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. It depicts an easel, and lies due south of Columba between the bright star Canopus in Carina and the Large Magellanic Cloud. It's brightest star is Alpha Pictoris, magnitude 3.2.
-This constellation of the zodiac, lying between Aquarius and Aries, depicts two fishes whose tails are each tied with cord. The stars Alpha Piscium marks a knot that joins the two cords. The constellation originated among the Babylonians of the Middle East, from whom it was inherited by the ancient Greeks. In one Greek myth, the fish represent Aphrodite and her son Eros, who plunged into the Euphrates to escape Typhon, a multi-headed monster. The sun lies in Pisces from 12 March to 18 April and hence is in the constellation at the March equinox.
67. Piscis Austrinus:
-Piscis Austrinus is a small constellation of the southern sky that was known to the ancient Greeks. It depicts a fish into whose mouth Aquarius, represented by the constellation to the northn, pours water from his urn. In Greek mythology, this fish was also the parent of the two fish represented by Pisces. The name of the constellation is sometimes given as Piscis Australis.
-This rich constellation lies in the Milky Way next to Canis Major. It represents the stern of the ship of the Argonauts. Ancient Greek astronomers represented the whole ship as one constellation, Argo Navis. This was later divided into three parts, with Puppis being the largest section. Because it is only part of a once-larger constellation, Puppis has no stars labelled Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon.
-This southern constellation lies on the edge of the Milky Way between Hydra and Puppis. Invented by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the 18th century, it represents a magnetic compass of the type used by mariners.
-This small southern constellation near the Large Magellanic Cloud dates from the 18th century. It depicts a device called a grid or reticle, which was used in telescope eyepieces for recording star positions. The brightest star in the constellation is Alpha Reticuli, magnitude 3.3.
-Although it lies in the Milky Way, with Vulpecula and Cygnus to the north and Aquila to the south, Sagitta contains little that is of interest. The third-smallest constellation, it has been visualised since ancient Greek times as an arrow, with it's brightest star, Gamma Sagittae, magnitude 3.5, marking the arrowhead.
-This constellation of the zodiac lies between Scorpius and Capricornus. It depicts Crotus, the son of the Greek God Pan and the inventor of archery, aiming his bow at a scorpion, represented by the neighbouring constellation of Scorpius. The centre of our Galaxy lies in the same direction as Sagittarius, and binoculars show that the star fields in this part of the Milky Way are particularly dense. The sun passes through Sagittarius from18 December to 19 January, a period that includes the December solstice. The constellation's brighest star is Epsilon Sagittarii, magnitude 1.8.
-A constellation of the zodiac, Scorpius lies between Libra and Sagittarius. It depicts the scorpion that, in Greek mythology, killed Orion with it's sting- fittingly, Orion sets as Scorpius rises. The constellation lies in a rich region of the Milky Way, in the same direction as the centre of our Galaxy. The Sun passes through it briefly, from 23 to 29 November. The old version of it's name, Scorpio, is used only in astrology.
-The faint constellation is to the south of Aquarius and Cetus. It was invented in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, who visualised it as a sculptor's studio, although it's name has since been changed. It's brightest star, Alpha Sculptoris, is of only magnitude 4.3. Sculptor contains the south pole of our Galaxy- the point 90 degress south of the plane of the Milky Way. In this region, our view into the Universe is uniterrupted by intervening gas and dust in our Galaxy, so many faint distant galaxies are visible. The north galatic poles lies in Coma Berenices.
-Scutum is a small constellation that lies just south of the celestial equator in a rich area of the Milky Way between Aquila and Sagittarius. It was introduced in the late 17th century by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, who originally termed it Sobieski's Shield in honour or his patron, King John Sobieski. It's brightest star is Alpha Scuti, magnitude 3.9.
-Uniquely, Serpens consists of two seperate areas that, taken together, are regarded as one constellation. It depicts a serpent coiled around Ophiuchus, who holds the head (Serpens Caput) in his left hand and the tail (Serpens Cauda) in his right. The constellation's brightest star, Alpha Serpentis, magnitude 2.6, is also known as Unukalhai, a name derived from an Arabic term that means "the serpent's neck".
-This faint constellation is on the celestial equator, south of Leo. It was invented in the late 17th century by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius and represents the sextant with which he measured star positions. It's brightest star is Alpha Sextantis, magnitude 4.5.
-This imposing constellation of the zodiac lies between Aries and Gemini. It represents the bull into which the Greek God Zeus transformed himself to abduct Princess Europa of Phoenicia. Zeus then swam to Crete with the princess on his back. The constellation represents the front half of the bull's body- the part visible above the Mediterranean waves. It contains two major star clusters, the Pleiades and Hyades. In mythology, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, and the cluster is also known as the Seven Sisters; the Hyades were the daughters of Atlas and Aethra. In the sky, the Hyades cluster marks the bull's face, while the red giant star Aldebaran forms the creature's bloodshot eye. The tips of the bull's horns are marked by Beta and Zeta Tauri, magnitudes 1.7 and 3.0. The Sun passes through Taurus from 14 May to 21 June.
-This unremarkable constellation south of Sagittarius was introduced by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. In it's original form, it represented a large telescope supported by a winch, but it is a poor tribute to such an important instrument. It's brightest star is Alpha Telescopoo, magnitude 3.5.
-This small constellation can be found between Andromeda and Aries. It was known to the ancient Greeks, many of whom visualised it as the Nile delta, while for others it represented the island of Sicily. It's brightest star is Beta Trianguli, magnitude 3.0.
81. Triangulum Australe:
-Lying in the Milky Way near Alpha and Beta Centauri is the southern counter-part of the northern triangle, Triangulum. Although smaller than Triangulum, it is more prominent because it's main stars are brighter. It is the smallest of the 12 constellations introduced at the end of the 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. It's brightest star is Alpha Trianguli Asutralis, magnitude 1.9.
-This southern constellation, representing a toucan, the large-beaked bird of South and Central America, lies close to the bright star Achernar and south of two other celestial birds, Grus and Phoenix. It was invented in the late 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. It's brightest star is Alpha Tucanae, magnitude 2.9, but it's most notable naked-eye object is the Small Magellanic Cloud.
-Ursa Major is among the most famous constellations. It is the third-largest in the sky, occupying a much wider area than that covered by the group of seven stars that form the asterism of the Plough (or Big Dipper). Ursa Major represents Callisto, a mortal in Greek myth and a hunting partner of Artemis, who was seduced by Zeus. In different versions of the story, she was turned into a bear either by Zeus's jealous wife, Hera, or by the angry Artemis. It's brightest stars are Alpha and Epsilon Ursae Majoris, both magnitude 1.8. A line drawn from Beta through Alpha Ursae Majoris points towards Polaris, the north Pole Star, in adjacent Ursa Minor.
84. Ursa Minor:
-Ursa Minor contains the north celestial pole. By chance there is a moderately bright star, known as Polaris (or the north Pole Star), about 1 degree from the pole. Navigators have long recognised that when looking at Polaris one is facing almost due north. Ursa Minor's main stars form a shape known as the little dipper, while the stars Beta and Gamma Ursae Minoris (Kochab and Pherkad), in the dipper's bowl, are known as the Guardians of the Pole. Ursa Minor is named after a nymph who nursed the infant Zeus, although it is not clear why she is depicted as a bear.
-This is one of three parts into which the ancient Greek constellation of Argo Navis (the ship of the argonauts) was dividied by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. It represents the sails of the ship. Vela lies in the Milky Way with Carina and Puppis, the other two portions of the ship, on one side, and Centaurus on the other. Since it is only a part of the once-larger constellation, Vela contains no stars labelled Alpha or Beta.
-This is the largest constellation of the zodiac and the second largest of all the constellations. It lies on the celestial equator between Leo and Libra. The constellation is usually identified as Dike, the Greek godess of justice, or sometimes as Demeter, the corn godess. Virgo is of particular interest because it contains the nearest large cluster of galaxies, the Virgo Cluster. The Sun passes through the constellation from 16 September to 31 October.
-This faint southern constellation adjoins Carina. Invented at the end of the 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman, it represents the fish of tropical waters that can glide above the waves on it's outstretched fins.
-Vupecula is in the Milky Way, to the south of Cygnus. When it was introduced in the late 17th century by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, it was named Vulpecula cum Anser (the Fox and the Goose). It's brightest star is Alpha Vulpeculae, magnitude 4.4.