Tech UPTechnologyWhat are the most important constellations?

What are the most important constellations?

As you know, all you need to locate constellations is a dark sky , the farther away from cities the better, as well as a pair of binoculars or a telescope, if you dare. The use of a star map (there are many free and paid applications for this purpose for mobile phones) can be an additional option to help you find where to look for constellations, according to location and time of year.

The big bear

This constellation is visible throughout the year in the northern hemisphere. The Big Dipper is usually the most identifiable star pattern in the night sky, making it a great starting point to begin our orientation. It is most easily found during the summer months in the northernmost part of the sky. It has been known since ancient times and its most prominent star is Aliotgh , the brightest of it (it is one of the three stars that form the ‘tail’ of the bear). ε Ursae Majoris or Alioth is 108 times more luminous than the Sun.

Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia, mother of princess Andromeda, boasted of her great beauty and was forced to go to the heavenly realms for everyone to gawk at her (as punishment). This constellation has a distinctive “W” shape made up of five bright stars recognizable in the night sky during fall and early winter. It is located in the upper part of the northern hemisphere. Greek astronomers declared Cassiopeia as the first constellation discovered.

Orion

Orion is one of the largest and most recognizable constellations. It can be seen all over the world and has been mentioned by Homer, Virgil and even the Bible, making it perhaps the most famous constellation. Who was Orion? A supernatural hunter, son of Poseidon, who was said -according to Greek mythology- to regularly hunt with Artemis (goddess of the hunt) on the island of Crete. Although it is primarily a winter constellation in the northern hemisphere, you can see it in the early morning hours on some summer nights. How to locate the Orion constellation? It is very simple. For an asterism. There are three equidistantly separated and equally bright stars that form Orion’s belt: these three protagonists are Rigel, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix. Rigel is in the lower right and Betelgeuse in the upper left. There is also a nice cluster that is actually many times larger than our galaxy and that represents Orion’s sword.

 

Canis Major and Canis Minor

Two of the main constellations apart from Cassiopeia or the Big Dipper are Canis Major and Canis Minor: they are the hunting dogs of Orion. Both constellations can be seen in the northern hemisphere from December to March and in the southern hemisphere from November to April. The famous star Sirius, worshiped by the Egyptians (the brightest in the entire night sky seen from Earth), is the star that forms the nose of Canis Major.

 

Taurus

Finding Orion makes it easy to locate the next great constellation, Taurus, ‘The Bull’. This constellation is also a prominent feature of the sky and one of the oldest constellations. It is located above Orion and to locate it, the great red star, Aldebaran, is usually first identified, which is near the bifurcation of the horns of the bull. Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus and is orange in color. The lower ‘horn’ is home to the Crab Nebula, and above the torus is another famous star cluster, the Pleiades. The Pleiades are easy to recognize, as they begin to be chased by Orion across the sky.

Remember that if you can’t drive or travel out of town to see the stars, you can always locate an observatory within your hometown and attend a tour with experienced hosts.

Reference: NASA / International Astronomical Union

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