Equatorial

  • Tau - Taurus the Bull

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    17 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Taurus the Bull is easily spotted. Its head is the Hyades, a V-shaped cluster of stars. His horns point outward from the V. Aldebaran is the red eye of the Bull as he charges down upon us.

    Taurus is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.
    Biblical references: The Pleiades are mentioned in Job 9:7-9 and Job 38:31-33, and Amos 5:8. Other constellations alluded to in the Bible are Ursa Major and Orion.

    Skylore and Literature

  • Aql - Aquila the Eagle

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    22 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Between Cygnus and Sagittarius, with Altair (its brightest star) making the south end of the Summer Triangle (along with Deneb of Cygnus and Vega of Lyra). As the night sky changes, Aquila the Eagle and Cygnus the Swan swing slowly westward across the sky towards the horizon. The Eagle sets tail first, followed closely by the Swan, who dives beak first below the western horizon.

    Skylore and Literature

  • Aqr - Aquarius the Water Carrier

    Size

    10 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Water jar pattern. Near Pegasus.

    An ancient Babylonian constellation which contained the September equinox in the fourth millenium B.C. Aquarius is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

    M2 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.4.

    M72 (Globular cluster), mag. 9.3.

    M73 (Galactic cluster), mag. 9.1.

     

     

  • CMi - Canis Minor the Little Dog

    Size

    71 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Procyon, the brightest star of Canis Minor, serves as the vertex of the Winter Hexagon lying between Gemini and Sirius.

    Canis Minor is included in the ancient star catalog of Ptolemy, but was not present in the catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos or Aratos of Soli.

     

    Skylore and Literature:  One of Orion’s two faithful dogs, following him in the sky.

     

    Asterism: Winter Hexagon

     

     

  • Cet - Cetus the Sea Monster or Whale

    Size

    4 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    South of Aries and Pisces, one of the largest constellations. Trace to the second-magnitude star Beta-Ceti (Diphda, near the flukes) by following a line southward from Alpheratz (the corner of Pegasus and Andromeda) through gamma-Pegasi, across Pisces and Cetus.

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

     

    Skylore and Literature:  Killed by Perseus as he was attempting to devour Andromeda. Movies: Clash of the Titans; Internet movie database.

     

    Special Stars

  • Eri - Eridanus the River

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    6 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    The River Eridanus flows northward (like the Nile) from the bright star Achernar (Arabic for "End of the River") to Kursa (beta-Eridani) near Rigel in Orion. Eridanus is the longest (not largest) constellation, spanning over 50 degrees of declination, and its many faint stars glitter like reflecting light off the surface of its waves.

    The Nile to the Egyptians, the Po to Italians, and the Yellow River to the Chinese.
    The ancient astronomer Hipparchos (ca. 150 B.C.) called Eridanus the "River of Orion."

  • Hya - Hydra the Water Snake

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    1 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Hydra the Water Snake is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.  It is the largest and longest of the constellations, stretching from Cancer to Libra.

    Its brightest star is Alphard, which has an orangish tint.  Several constellations and asterisms ride on its back; from head to tail they are Sextans the Sextant, Crater the Cup, Corvus the Crow, and Noctua the Owl.

    Star Clusters

    M48 (Galactic cluster), mag. 6.0.
    M68 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.2.

  • Leo - Leo the Lion

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    12 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    East of the Gemini twins lies Leo the Lion. Find the bowl of the Big Dipper. From the two stars on the handle-side, trace a line back to Leo and its bright star Regulus.
    Regulus, the star of kings, is the point beneath a backward question mark. This backward question mark, or sickle, represents Leo’s mane.

    His flank is a triangle of stars farther east.

  • Oph - Ophiuchus, the Serpent Handler

    Size

    11 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Between Scorpius and Hercules. Contains Barnard’s star, the third closest star to the earth (after the Sun and Alpha Centauri). Barnard’s star is a dim red dwarf 6 light-years away.

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

    Represents Aesculapius, the Roman god of medicine and healing.

     

    Star Clusters

    M9 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.0.
    M10 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.7.

    M12 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.6.

    M14 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.0.