Topic  No. 3

The Names of the Constellations, and how to say them


Groups of stars that make some kind of pattern in the sky are called constellations. The sky is divided up into 88 constellations, large and small. Most are irregular in shape, but all sections of their boundaries are made up of either lines of Declination or lines of Right Ascension. There is no part of the sky that is not in a constellation.

Most of the constellations we see today have been known since ancient times. The ones with bright stars have been of importance to humans since the earliest civilisations, as they helped people to understand the seasons, which was important for agriculture. Many stars and constellations had religious significance as well.

Andromeda an-drom'-ed-a Chained maiden Andromedae Alpheratz  ¶
Antlia ant'-lee-a Air pump Antliae  -  F
Apus ay'-pus Bird of paradise Apodis  -  F
Aquarius ac-ware'-ee-us Water-bearer Aquarii  Sadalmelek  ¶   F, G, Z
Aquila ack'-will-a Eagle Aquilae Altair, Alshain, Tarazed  ¶   M
Ara ay'-ra Altar Arae  -  ¶   M
Argo ah'-go Ship Argo -  Canopus  Replaced
Aries ay'-reez Ram Arietis Hamal, Sheratan  ¶   Z
Auriga or-rye'-ga Charioteer Aurigae Capella  ¶   M
Boötes bo-oh'-teez Herdsman Boötis Arcturus  ¶   G  
Caelum see'-lum Chisel Caeli  -  F
Camelopardis ca-mel'-oh-par-dus Giraffe Camelopardi  -  N
Cancer can'-ser Crab Cancri  -  ¶   Z
Canes Venatici cay'-neez ven-at'-iss-ee Greyhounds Canum Venaticorum  Cor Caroli  G
Canis Major cay'niss may'-jer Greater Dog Canis Majoris Sirius, Mirzam  ¶   M
Canis Minor cay'niss mine'-er Lesser Dog Canis Minoris Procyon, Gomeisa  ¶   
Capricornus  cap-ree-corn'-us Sea-goat Capricorni  Algedi, Dabih  ¶   Z
Carina  car-een'-a Keel (of Argo) Carinae Canopus ¶    
Cassiopeia  cass-ee-oh-pee'-a Queen Cassiopeia Cassiopeiae  - N, M
Centaurus  sen-tor'-us Centaur Centauri  Rigil Kent, Hadar  ¶   
Cepheus  see'-fee-us King Cepheus Cephei  - N
Cetus  see'-tuss Whale Ceti Diphda  ¶   G  
Chamaeleon  car-me'-lee-un Chamaeleon Chamaeleontis  - F
Circinus sir'-sin-us Compasses Circini - F
Columba coe-lum'-ba Dove Columbae Phact F
Coma Berenices coe'-ma bear-ee-nice'-eez Berenice's Hair Comae Berenices - ¶   G  
Corona Australis coe-roe'-na oss-strar'-liss Southern Crown Coronae Australis - ¶   
Corona Borealis coe-roe'-na bo-ree-ah'-liss Northern Crown Coronae Borealis Alphecca (Gemma) ¶   
Corvus core'-vuss Crow Corvi Alchiba ¶   G  
Crater cray'-ter Cup Crateris Alkes F
Crux (Australis) krucks (oss-strar'-liss) (Southern) Cross Crucis Acrux, Mimosa ¶   M
Cygnus sig'-nuss Swan Cygni Deneb, Albireo ¶   M
Delphinus dell-fine'-us Dolphin Delphini Sualocin ¶   
Dorado doe-rar'-doe Swordfish Doradus - ¶   F
Draco dray'-co Dragon Draconis Eltanin, Rastaban N
Equuleus ec-kwoo'-lee-us Little Horse Equulei Kitalpha F
Eridanus e-rid'-an-us Eridanus River Eridani Achernar, Cursa ¶   G   
Fornax for'-nax Furnace Fornacis - G
Gemini jem'-in-eye Twins Geminorum Pollux, Castor ¶   Z, M
Grus gruss' Crane Gruis Al Nair ¶   
Hercules her'-coo-leez Hercules Herculis Ras Algethi ¶   
Horologium hor-oh-loh'-jee-um Clock Horologii - F
Hydra high'-dra Water Snake Hydrae Alphard ¶   
Hydrus high'-druss Water Snake Hydri - F
Indus in'-dus Indian Indi - F
Lacerta la-ser'-ta Lizard Lacertae - F
Leo lee'-oh Lion Leonis Regulus, Denebola ¶   Z,  G
Leo Minor lee'-oh mine'-er Lesser Lion Leonis Minoris - F, G
Lepus lee'-pus Hare Leporis - F
Libra lie'-bra Scales Librae Zuben Elgenubi ¶   Z
Lupus loo'-pus Wolf Lupi - ¶   M
Lynx links' Lynx Lyncis - F
Lyra lie'-rah Lyre Lyrae Vega ¶   M
Malus may'-luss Mast (of Argo) - - Renamed Pyxis
(Mons) Mensa men'-sa Table (Mountain) Mensae - F
Microscopium mick-row-scope'-ee-um Microscope Microscopii - F
Monoceros mon-oh-sair'-oss Unicorn Monocerotis - M
Musca muss'-ca Fly Muscae - ¶   
Norma nor'-ma Square Normae -  
Octans ok'-tans Octant Octantis - F
Ophiuchus off-ee-oo'-kuss Serpent-bearer Ophiuchi Ras Alhague, Sabik
Orion oh-rye'-on Hunter Orionis Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Saiph  ¶   
Pavo par'-voh Peacock Pavonis Peacock F
Pegasus peg'-a-suss Winged horse Pegasi Markab, Scheat, Algenib Great Square
Perseus per'-see-us Perseus Persei Mirfak, Algol M
Phoenix fee'-nix Phoenix Phoenicis Ankaa ¶   G   
Pictor pick'-tor Painter Pictoris - F
Pisces pie'-seize Fishes Piscium Alrescha ¶   
Piscis Austrinus pie'-suss oss-stry'-nuss Southern Fish Piscis Austrini Fomalhaut ¶   
Puppis pup'-iss Stern (of Argo) Puppis - ¶   
Pyxis pick'-siss Compass Pyxidis - M
Reticulum ree-tick'-you-lum Net Reticuli - F
Sagitta sadge-it'-ta Arrow Sagittae - ¶   M
Sagittarius sadge-it-air'-ee-us Archer Sagittarii Nunki, Kaus Australis ¶   Z, M
Scorpius scor'-pee-us Scorpion Scorpii Antares, Shaula ¶   Z, M
Sculptor sculp'-ter Sculptor's workshop Sculptoris - F,  G,  P
Scutum scoo'-tum Shield Scuti - Star clouds
Serpens sir'-penz Serpent Serpentis Unukalhai Z. M
Sextans sex'-tanz Sextant Sextantis - F
Taurus tore'-us Bull Tauri Aldebaran, El Nath ¶   Z, M
Telescopium tele-scope'-ee-um Telescope Telescopii - F
Triangulum try-ang'-gyou-lum Triangle Trianguli Metallah ¶   
Triangulum Australe try-ang'-gyou-lum oss-strar-lee Southern triangle Trianguli Australis Atria ¶   M
Tucana too-car'-na Toucan Tucanae - F
Ursa Major er'-sa may'-jer Greater Bear Ursae Majoris Alkaid, Alcor ¶   N
Ursa Minor er'-sa mine'-er Lesser Bear Ursae Minoris Polaris X
Vela vee'-la Sails (of Argo) Velorum Regor, Suhail ¶   M
Virgo ver'-go Virgin Virginis Spica, Porrima ¶   G,  Z
Volans  voe'-lanz Flying fish Volantis  -  F
Vulpecula vul-peck'-you-la Fox Vulpeculae - M


¶  = Key constellation              X = never visible from Nambour              N = low in north when available, only partially visible
M = in Milky Way                   
F = faint, no bright stars 
                               G = near a galactic window
Z  = in or near the zodiac; Sun, Moon and planets can pass through


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