Near the equator, there are no circumpolar stars. With the celestial poles on the horizon, all stars appear to rise in the east and set in the west for observers at the equator. Observers can never see all 88 constellations from a single location on Earth.
Constellations are groups of stars. The constellations you can see at night depend on your location on Earth and the time of year. Constellations were named after objects, animals, and people long ago. Astronomers today still use constellations to name stars and meteor showers.
Orion, ‘The Hunter’ Orion is also one of the easiest constellations to spot in the night sky. Begin by looking for the three bright stars that form the straight line of the hunter’s belt.
This may be ‘cheating’ a little bit because the Big Dipper is not technically a constellation, but part of a constellation known as Ursa Major. However, in the northern hemisphere the Big Dipper is usually the most identifiable pattern of stars in the sky, so it makes an excellent starting point to begin our orientation.
How do the constellations change as the Earth spins?
As our planet spins on its axis, we see different constellations, with stars appearing to move across the sky from east to west, just as the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west from our point of view.
Do constellations change from month to month?
Constellations by Month Constellations that can be seen in the evening sky change from month to month. Stars rise and set four minutes earlier each night and, as a result, we see constellations rising and setting two hours earlier each month.
Can you see all 88 constellations from a single location?
Observers can never see all 88 constellations from a single location on Earth. While some of the southern constellations can be seen from northern latitudes at certain times of year – Scorpius, for instance, is visible over the southern horizon in the summer – others never rise over the horizon.
How many constellations are there in the world?
The International Astronomical Union lists 88 constellations — a list that has been in use since 1922 and encompasses all the night sky around the world. I chose the 15 below based on a combination of size, visibility, importance of stars within them, ease of recognition, and place in folklore through history.
This drawing, as well as those below, is from Sidney Hall’s set of drawings called Urania’s Mirror. Delphinus, on the left, is still a recognized constellation, but quite small and faint. Musca borealis, the bee, is a discarded constellation, sagitta, the bow and aries, and while more too are a few additional items to pay attention too.
How can I learn to identify the shapes of the constellations?
Something like Google Sky can also help you to practice identifying the shapes of the constellations. Other than a star map, all you need is a dark sky (as far away from cities as possible), and for extra visual aide, a pair of binoculars or a telescope.