Constellation Stories

  • Chet Raymo, 365 Starry Nights

    Short introductions to the night sky in astronomy, literature and mythology for every night of the year.  Use an app like StarWalk or SkySafari to find the constellations outside at night, but use this book to take your first steps to learn about them.  It is an ideal family read-aloud, appropriate for a variety of ages, year after year, or use it as a supplement to an astronomy textbook to rekindle a sense of wonder at the universe.

    Here at The Sky Tonight, many of our Constellation pages are keyed to Raymo's 365 Starry Nights.

    The simplicity of 365 Starry Nights is also its virtue.  It is organized only according to day and month of the year.  

    The following index of constellations will aid in navigation for quick reference.

  • Staal, New Patterns in the Sky

    Staal's book is one of the most readable 1-volume introductions to skylore.  It helpfully attempts to balance traditional, classical skylore with the myths and legends of non-Western cultures.

  • Eratosthenes and Hyginus, Constellation Myths, with Aratus

    The three fundamental Greco-Roman texts for the ancient constellations of Ptolemy are included here in fresh new translations by Robin Hard, who also provides informative notes and an introduction.  Instead of just reading about ancient constellation myths, it's never been easier, thanks to this new edition, to spend a few evenings reading the actual sources themselves.

  • Follow the Drinking Gourd

    This constellation story, beautifully illustrated and told by Jeanette Winter, explains how slaves would follow the Drinking Gourd (Big Dipper) to find their way northward on the Underground Railroad.  Musical notation is included for the old slave song that contained encoded instructions for following the Drinking Gourd to freedom.

  • How the Stars Fell into the Sky

    Booklist review (blurb on back cover):  "A Navajo legend is retold in simple, poetic style with paintings that capture the physicalness of the desert at night and also the elemental mystery of the story... the pictures have a marvelous depth, with a sense of infinite space beyond the curved rim of the earth."