Course: Science Subtest I
Lesson: Astronomy
Topic: The Stars: Patterns and Movement      Page 10 of 18  

Constellations are in the eye of the beholder.

The same pattern of stars may be thought of in different ways by different people or different cultures. What we call the Big Dipper is called in England the Plow or Wagon. However, the identification of some patterns of stars has persisted over thousands of years. One example is the Babylonian constellation we call Taurus, the bull.

There are 88 constellations filling the night sky. About a dozen are never visible from the latitude of California, as they lie too far south.

Some of the more familiar patterns and constellations are Orion (the hunter) and his dog (Canis Major), the Big Dipper, which is part of the constellation Ursa Major, and Crux, the Southern Cross, which is visible from Hawaii and locations in the southern hemisphere.

Visit this site and hover your cursor over the constellations to reveal their outlines.