• Aur - Auriga the Charioteer

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    21 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Auriga 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).

  • Cas - Cassiopeia the Queen of Ethiopia

    Size

    25 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Trace an imaginary line from the Big Bear’s pointers on past Polaris. At an equal distance on the opposite side from the Big Dipper is Cassiopeia (KASS-ee-oh-PAY-uh), an ancient Queen of Ethiopia.

    As she sits on her W-shaped throne she circles round and round the pole. Like the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia is circumpolar and therefore visible no matter what the season or time of night. In the fall Cassiopeia is in the shape of a W and in the Spring she is in the shape of a M.

  • Cep - Cepheus the King of Ethiopia

    Size

    27 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    The Ethiopian king, Cepheus (SEE-fee-us), is a circumpolar constellation that 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. Cepheus looks like a house (or throne) sitting on the Milky Way. The back of the seat comes to a point at the top above his head.

  • Lyn - Lynx

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    28 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Lying between Ursa Major and Gemini, the Lynx is a row of very dim stars silhouetting its crouched outline. From antiquity the lynx was renowned for its keen night vision. Hevelius created this constellation in 1690, noting that one needs the eyes of a lynx to see it.

  • Per - Perseus the Hero

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    24 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Resembles a backward lambda. Located in the Milky Way, between Andromeda/Cassiopeia and Auriga/Taurus.

    Look for the Perseid meteor shower on August 12.

  • UMa - Ursa Major the Big Bear

    Size

    3 of 88

    Astronomical 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.

    The Big Dipper.

    Hubble Deep Field

  • UMi - Ursa Minor the Little Bear

    Size

    56 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Use the pointer stars of the Big Dipper to find Polaris, the tip of Ursa Minor’s tail. The whole sky seems to rotate around Polaris once a day, since it is located near the north celestial pole. The two other bright stars of Ursa Minor represent the far edge of its dipper, and lie nearer to the Big Dipper.