Cam - Camelopardalis the Giraffe

  • Aur - Auriga the Charioteer

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    21 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Lies in the Milky Way, with many binocular and telescopic objects, between Gemini, Perseus and Taurus, at the top of the Winter Hexagon. Auriga looks like a pentagon, if one includes Alnath, which is also the tip of one of Taurus the Bull’s horns (Alnath was once Gamma-Aurigae, but is now officially Beta-Tauri).

  • Cas - Cassiopeia the Queen of Ethiopia

    Size

    25 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Trace an imaginary line from the Big Bear’s pointers on past Polaris. At an equal distance on the opposite side from the Big Dipper is Cassiopeia (KASS-ee-oh-PAY-uh), an ancient Queen of Ethiopia.

    As she sits on her W-shaped throne she circles round and round the pole. Like the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia is circumpolar and therefore visible no matter what the season or time of night. In the fall Cassiopeia is in the shape of a W and in the Spring she is in the shape of a M.

    Cassiopeia is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

  • Cep - Cepheus the King of Ethiopia

    Size

    27 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Another circumpolar constellation is the Ethiopian king, Cepheus (SEE-fee-us). He sits atop the Milky Way on a throne near his queen Cassiopeia. The legs and seat of his throne make a rough square. On the Ursa Major side of Cassiopeia, looks like a house (or throne) sitting on the Milky Way. Look for mu-Cephei, the "garnet star," with a deep reddish tint. The back of the seat comes to a point at the top above his head.

    Cepheus is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

     

  • Dra - Draco the Dragon

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    8 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Draco occupies over 1,000 square degrees in the sky as it winds from the Pointers of Ursa Minor nearly to Vega in Lyra. Yet it has no bright stars.

    Draco is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

    To the Babylonians, Draco was Tiamat, a dragon killed by the sun god in the creation of the world.
    To the Greeks, Draco guarded the Golden Apples of the Sun in a magical garden.

     

    Special Stars

  • Lyn - Lynx

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    28 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Lying between Ursa Major and Gemini, the Lynx is a row of very dim stars silhouetting its crouched outline.

    From antiquity the lynx was renowned for its keen night vision. Hevelius created this constellation in 1690, noting that one needs the eyes of a lynx to see it.

     

  • Per - Perseus the Hero

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    24 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Resembles a backward lambda. Located in the Milky Way, between Andromeda/Cassiopeia and Auriga/Taurus. Perseus contains no first-magnitude star, but a pair of beautiful binocular star clusters, known as the Double Cluster. Look for the Perseid meteor shower on August 12.

    Usually depicted carrying the detached head of the demon-woman Medusa, or Gorgon, who grew snakes for hair. Perseus married Andromeda after saving her from Cetus with the aid of Pegasus (see Andromeda).

  • UMa - Ursa Major the Big Bear

    Size

    3 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

     

    Ursa Major or the Big Bear is the third largest of the 88 constellations. Seven stars form a familiar group of stars, or an "asterism" within the constellation. In America they are called the "Big Dipper" or "Drinking Gourd," and in Britain the "Plough" or the "Wain." The Big Dipper is one of the most easily recognizable groups of stars in the sky. It is referred to as circumpolar because it never completely sets below the horizon, but is visible in northern skies year-round.
    Three stars make up the Big Dipper’s handle, and four stars make its bowl.