March

  • 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.

     

     

     

     

  • 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

     

     

  • Car - Carina the Keel of Argo Navis

    Size

    34 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Locate Canopus by drawing a line from the easternmost star of Orion’s belt down through Rigel, Orion’s left foot. Canopus lies about twice as far from Orion’s belt as Sirius.

    One of 17 constellations created by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1756. Originally part of Argo Navis, which was included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

     

    Asterisms:  

  • Cen - Centaurus the Centaur

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    9 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Partially visible only in March and April from 35 degrees north latitude. Until early modern times the Centaur included Crux, which now nestles underneath his body.

     

    Skylore and Literature

  • Cha - Chamaeleon

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    79 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

     

    One of the eleven southern constellations created by Pieter Dirksz Keyser and Frederick de Houtman in 1596. These were published in Plate Aaa of Johann Bayer, Uranographia (1603).

     

  • Crv - Corvus the Crow

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    70 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    On the back of Hydra, kite-shaped pattern, low in the south.

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

    Sent by Apollo to report on Coronis, his lover. When Corvis told Apollo that she was unfaithful, Apollo turned his feathers black.

  • Crt - Crater the Cup

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    53 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Dim stars on the back of Hydra; shape of a cup.

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

    The drinking cup of Apollo, god of art and wisdom, who carried the sun across the sky every day. When Corvus, Apollo’s crow, refused to go for water to ease his thirst, Apollo placed the cup of water just in front of him where he could see it but never drink from it, though he chase it endlessly.

  • Cru - Crux the Southern Cross

    Size

    88 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Once part of the constellation Centaurus, Crux was separated by early modern explorers. Crux now lies tucked underneath the belly of the Centaur, and is the smallest of the 88 constellations. Located within the Milky Way, its five main stars form a "crosse so fayre and beutiful, that none other hevenly sygne may be compared...", wrote Andrea Corsali in 1517. Because of the splendor of Crux, South America was once called the "Land of the Holy Cross."

    Created by Amerigo Vespucci in 1503, along with Triangulum Australe.

     

  • 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.