• Boo - Bootes the Herdsman or Bear Driver

    Size

    13 of 88

    Astronomical 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

    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.

  • Cyg - Cygnus the Swan

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    16 of 88

    Astronomical 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.

  • Lyr - Lyra the Harp

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    52 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    To find Lyra, look for Vega, which forms the brightest point of the Summer Triangle. The summer triangle consists of Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, Altair in Aquila the Eagle, and bluish Vega in Lyra the Harp. Vega 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

    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.