Created on August 22, 2019
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Pegasus is in the northern sky, named after the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy. Twelve star systems have been found to have exoplanets. 51 Pegasi was the first Sun-like star discovered to have an exoplanet companion.
Ursa Major (also known as the Great Bear) is a constellation in the northern sky, whose associated mythology likely dates back into prehistory. Its Latin name means "greater (or larger) she-bear," referring to and contrasting it with nearby Ursa Minor, the lesser bear. In antiquity, it was one of the original 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD.
Ursa Major is primarily known from the asterism of its main seven stars, which has been called the "Big Dipper," "the Wagon," or "the Plough," among other names. In particular, the Big Dipper's stellar configuration mimics the shape of the "Little Dipper." Its two brightest stars, named Dubhe and Merak (α Ursae Majoris and β Ursae Majoris), can be used as the navigational pointer towards the place of the current northern pole star, Polaris in Ursa Minor.
Leo Minor is a small and faint constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "the smaller lion", in contrast to Leo, the larger lion. It lies between the larger and more recognizable Ursa Major to the north and Leo to the south. Leo Minor was not regarded as a separate constellation by classical astronomers; it was designated by Johannes Hevelius in 1687.
Leo is one of the constellations of the zodiac, lying between Cancer the crab to the west and Virgo the maiden to the east. Its name is Latin for lion, and to the ancient Greeks represented the Nemean Lion killed by the mythical Greek hero Heracles meaning 'Glory of Hera' (known to the ancient Romans as Hercules) as one of his twelve labors.
One of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, Leo remains one of the 88 modern constellations today, and one of the most easily recognizable due to its many bright stars and a distinctive shape that is reminiscent of the crouching lion it depicts. The lion's mane and shoulders also form an asterism known as "The Sickle," which to modern observers may resemble a backwards "question mark."
Gemini is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It was one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd century AD astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations today. Its name is Latin for "twins," and it is associated with the twins Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology.
The constellation contains 85 stars of naked eye visibility.
The brightest star in Gemini is Pollux, and the second-brightest is Castor. Castor's Bayer designation as "Alpha" arose because Johann Bayer did not carefully distinguish which of the two was the brighter when he assigned his eponymous designations in 1603.
Orion is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. It was named after Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology. Its brightest stars are the supergiants: blue-white Rigel (Beta Orionis) and red Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis).
The earliest depiction linked to the constellation of Orion is a prehistoric (Aurignacian) mammoth ivory carving found in a cave in the Ach valley in West Germany in 1979. Archaeologists estimate that it was fashioned approximately 32,000 to 38,000 years ago. The distinctive pattern of Orion is recognized in numerous cultures around the world, and many myths are associated with it.
Cancer is one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for crab and it is commonly represented as one. Its stars are rather faint, its brightest star Beta Cancri having an apparent magnitude of 3.5. It contains two stars with known planets, including 55 Cancri, which has five: one super-earth and four gas giants, one of which is in the habitable zone and as such has expected temperatures similar to Earth.
Located at the center of the constellation is Praesepe (Messier 44), one of the closest open clusters to Earth and a popular target for amateur astronomers.
Canis Major is found in the southern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "greater dog" in contrast to Canis Minor, the "lesser dog"; both figures are commonly represented as following the constellation of Orion the hunter through the sky. The Milky Way passes through Canis Major and several open clusters lie within its borders, most notably M41.
Canis Major contains Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, known as the "dog star". It is bright because of its proximity to the Solar System. In contrast, the other bright stars of the constellation are stars of great distance and high luminosity.
Click on the constellations to learn about each one