The History Of Constellations

Find out some history about the constellations seen in the night skies!

Did you know there are eighty-eight constellations that can be found in the night skies? To the average person, a constellation is merely a group of illuminated stars which form a picture of sorts. But to the astronomer, a constellation points to a specific area in the night skies!

Constellations can be found in several different areas of the night skyies. The average observer can find them by simply looking for a cluster of stars, especially the brightly illuminated stars, and try to find a pattern or picture to them. You can also check out several books from your local library about the constellations and what stars make up the varied patterns. Some books actually include charts which you can take outside with you to help find the specific constellations that you are looking for.

At one time, the constellations consisted of curved lines. These lines outlined the pictures that the constellations represented. But, inthe year of 1928, astronomers changed to straight lines so that each constellation consisted of lines that ran from north to south or east to west.



The twelve zodiacal constellations are probably the most commonly known among the eighty-eight star patterns. They can be seen from both the northern and the southern hemispheres. The twelve constellations are Cancer, Aquarius, Gemini, Sagittarius, Taurus, Virgo, Pisces, Libra, Leo, Capricorn, Aries, and Scorpio.

Two of the most common zodiacal constellations are sagittarius and taurus. Sagittarius is latin for the word archer. Its picture shows a centaur which is the top of a mans body on a horse's lower body. Within the stars that comprise the sagittarius constellation, lies the center of the galaxy which is also known as the milky way. Therefore, when you look at this constellation, you are actually viewing the center of the galaxy.

The Taurus constellation which is known as the bull, first shows up in the month of September. The star Aldebaran and two stars known as Hyades and Pleiades can be seen in this constellation. The Greeks created alegend that Taurus is Zeus in the form of a white bull. Zeus then convinced Europa, a beautiful goddess to ride on his back and he then carried her out to sea. They went to the island of Crete where the scheming lover Zeus finally removed his disguise to his beloved Europa. They eventually became lovers and had a son named Minos. Minos later became the king of Crete.

The Cancer constellation, which is also known as being the picture of a crab, was once consdiered to be seen whenever a new season began.

In conclusion, there are many interesting sights to be found in the night sky, AND the constellations are just some fo the bright sights. You can find stars, galaxies, planets, and many other things too. With a little practice, you can be navigating your way around the solar system in no time at all!

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