Dra - Draco the Dragon

  • 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.

  • 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.

     

  • Cyg - Cygnus the Swan

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    16 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Find the bowl of the big dipper and locate the two stars nearest the handle. A line running through these stars, tracing away from it above the open bowl. This line runs to Deneb, the tail of the constellation Cygnus the Swan. With wings abreast, and long neck outstretched, Cygnus flies along the milky river.

    Cygnus 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

  • Her - Hercules the Hero

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    5 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Located between Ophiuchus and Draco. Look for the Keystone, a trapezoid of four stars.

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

    Legendary hero who performed dozens of labors.

     

    Asterisms

    Keystone

     

    Star Clusters

    M13, Great Cluster (Globular cluster), mag. 5.9.
    M92 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.4.

     

    Galaxies

    M13, bright globular cluster.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Lyr - Lyra the Harp

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    52 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    The summer triangle consists of Deneb... Altair... and bluish Vega. Vega is the second brightest star in the northern hemisphere, closely rivaling Arcturus. Vega means Swooping Eagle in Arabic. It soars almost directly overhead in summer, while the bright stars of winter nights are hidden almost directly beneath our feet. Look for a small parallelogram of stars near Vega which forms the frame of the harp.

  • 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.