Northern

  • 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

  • And - Andromeda the Princess of Ethiopia

    Size

    19 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Andromeda contains one corner of the Great Square of Pegasus (the star Alpheratz). Andromeda’s dress flows outward from the corner along three pairs of stars, with each pair slightly farther apart than the previous pair. Perhaps she is petting Pegasus, who bore the hero Perseus across the ocean on his mighty wings to save her from the sea monster Cetus.

    Asterisms

    Baseball diamond (with Pegasus)
    Great Square
    Frederick’s Glory (Honores Friderici)

    Special Stars

  • Ari - Aries the Ram

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    39 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    A small zodiac constellation with only two easily visible stars.

     

    Skylore and Literature:  A ram with Golden Fleece, which could fly through the air.

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

     

  • 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).

  • Boo - Bootes the Herdsman or Bear Driver

    Size

    13 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Skywatchers have long-repeated the catch-phrase "Arc to Arcturus" (Arc-TUR-us). Follow the curve of the Big Dipper’s handle to the fourth brightest star in the sky. Arcturus belongs to the ancient constellation Bootes (BOW-oh-tees). Look for a pentagon above Arcturus forming the torso of the herdsman.

    Some prefer to see Bootes as a one-scoop ice cream cone. Just to one side lies Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. With bright Gemma ("Jemma") in its center, like a second scoop of ice cream that melted in the heat of summer and fell off the top.

  • Cnc - Cancer the Crab

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    31 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    A faint constellation between Gemini and Leo.

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

    Sent by Juno to kill Hercules, who squashed it with his foot.

     

    Asterisms

    Asses and the Manger

     

    Star Clusters

    M44, Praesepe or Beehive (Galactic cluster), mag. 3.9.
    M67 (Galactic cluster), mag. 6.1.

     

    Galaxies

    Look with binoculars for the Beehive star cluster, faintly visible to the naked eye.

     

     

     

     

  • CVn - Canes Venatici the Hunting Dogs

    Size

    38 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Lies under the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle.

    One of the seven constellations created by the Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius, in 1687.

    Two hunting dogs of Bootes the Herdsman, named Asterion (Starry) and Chara (Joy). They are chasing Ursa Major.

    The brightest star is Cor Caroli, "heart of Charles," to honor King Charles I of England (martyred in the bloodless revolution of the seventeenth century).

     

    Star Clusters

    M3 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.3.

     

    Galaxies

  • 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