Star Patterns

Stars Patterns of stars in the sky are called constellations
that astronomers use them to pinpoint individual stars.

  • most of the constellations were identified long ago by the stargazers of ancient Babylon and Greece.
  • constellations are simply patterns – there is no real link between the stars
  • astronomer today recognise 88 constellations.
  • heroes and creatures of Greek myth, such as Orion and Perseus, provided the names for many constellations, although each name is usually written in its Latin form, not in Greek.
  • the stars in each constellations are named after a letter of the Greek alphabet.
  • the brightest star in each constellation is called the Alpha star, the next brightest Beta, and so on.
  • different constellations become visible at different times of ear, as the Earth travels around the Sun.
  • Southern Hemisphere constellation are different from those in the north.
  • the constellation of the Great Bear, also known by it Latin name Ursa Major, contains an easily recognisable group of seven stars called the Plough or the Big Dipper.

Back to  Stars and Galaxies  page / next to  Celestial Sphere  page.

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