Stars & Constellations

Getting to Know the Big Dipper

Getting to Know the Big Dipper

: By Jim Hendrickson
With the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere comes the culmination of the northern sky’s most recognized asterism, the Big Dipper. This familiar group of seven stars is notable for having a clear resemblance to its namesake (it is easy to imagine it forming the shape of a large spoon), but how much do you really know about the Big Dipper?

Orion the Hunter

: By Dave Huestis
Everyone with an interest in astronomy probably has a favorite constellation. It may be because of the star pattern’s mythology, or its shape in the sky, or for the beautiful objects that reside within its boundaries, or possibly because it’s your astrological sign.

Corona Australis & the Southern Limits of Sagittarius

: By Craig Cortis
I’ve written about this subject in past issues, but it occurs to me now that it might be of interest to mention just the few bright stars that lie way down near the southern border of Sagittarius, only a few degrees above our local horizon limit of -48° in declination. The small constellation of Corona Australis, known as the Southern Crown, lies just west of these stars and is a worthwhile section of sky for those who might wish to become better acquainted with the more southerly parts of the summer Milky Way as presented to our view in August.

Sirius

: By Glenn Chaple
Next time you set out to do some “serious” astronomy, try a moment to make a “Sirius” observation. You’ll be delighted you did.
The Winter Circle

The Winter Circle

: By Dave Huestis
Just as the summer sky has the Summer Triangle, the winter sky has its own special asterism, and this one is huge and includes a total of eight bright stars. It’s called the Winter Circle or Winter Hexagon. I’ll explain why you can get both shapes from the stars.

Cygnus the Swan

: By Dave Huestis
Cygnus the Swan (also known as the Northern Cross), can be found in one of the richest star regions in the sky.

Spring Double Stars: The Three Leaps of the Gazelle

: By Nan D'Antuono
The Great Bear Ursa Major is high in the north these Spring evenings. Along his southwestern border, shared with the constellations Lynx, Leo Minor, and Leo lie the three distinctive pairs of third magnitude stars known from ancient times by many names, one of the best known of which is the charming name "The Three Leaps of the Gazelle." Three of the six leap stars are wonderful doubles, and there are many more awaiting discovery in Ursa Major.

Resources

Eyes on the Sky

Eyes on the Sky makes it easier for anyone to find objects in the night sky and/or learn how to use astronomy equipment, and educates about smarter lighting practices. Take a look at the weekly videos to learn what YOU can find in the night sky, this week - naked eye, binocular and telescopic objects are always discussed, so anyone can look up and see planets, stars and other deep sky objects.

The Evening Sky Map

To help find your way around the night sky, Skymaps.com makes available for free each month The Evening Sky Map -- a 2-page monthly guide to the night skies of the world -- northern and southern hemispheres, and the equatorial regions. Each issue contains a detailed sky map, a monthly sky calendar, and a descriptive list of the best objects to see with binoculars, a telescope, or using just your eyes.

Uncle Al's Starwheels

Learn to identify the constellations by printing and building this simple planisphere.