- Education and Science»
- Astronomy & Space Exploration
Looking to the Heavens
For centuries cultures have looked to the Heavens for answers to the mysteries of life, such as the changes in weather, natural disasters and reasons for human conditions. In the face of what seems to a black drape of sky with random sparking stars, astronomers have officially found 88 constellations. Better yet, we can call them groups of stars as a picture in the sky, and most of them can easily be found and recognize with the naked eye. Whether we can find answers to life’s mysteries or control our destinies or not, let’s take a look and see what constellations we can recognize tonight.
The third largest constellation, Ursa Major is called the Great bear and is the most famous of all the groups of stars. Why is he so famous? The Big Dipper is more or less half of the Ursa Major constellation. You can see the ladle-shaped stars are as one of the most easily recognizable constellations in the sky.
The North Star (Polaris) shines brightly at the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. Once you find that bright star, you have found the Little Dipper and you will see Ursa Minor as the little brother of Ursa Major. Also called Small Bear, the constellation rests in the Northern Hemisphere with Ursa Major.
Most easily see and recognized is the constellation Orion. Also called the Great Hunter, you can find him on the celestial equator, which means most the world can see him when you see him. The key is to find his most noticeable three stars – Alnitak, Mintaka, and Alnilam -- These bright stars make belt. From there you will see his arms and legs.
In the upper area of the Northern Hemisphere you can find Cassiopeia. Greeks astronomers declared Cassiopeia the first constellations they ever discovered. To locate the constellation, you look for the W shape, which is composed of five wonderfully bright stars. You can also locate it by finding the Big Dipper and look to the opposite side. The constellation's legend is based on the Ethiopian queen Cassiopea, who was known for her unrivaled beauty and vanity.
Better yet, we can call them groups of stars as a picture in the sky, and most of them can easily be found and recognize with the naked eye.
Scorpius - The Scorpion
One of the longest-standing constellations known to man, Scorpius aligns with the initial six signs of the zodiac. The constellation had a larger span of stars, but a portion of on the western side, which was the scorpion claws, now belongs to weighing scales, and its symbol of Libra.
Leo - The Lion
Known for being pretty compact as constellation, Leo is very easy to recognize because the shape of the stars looks like a lion, which is not like other constellations. Probably the easiest way to recognize the group of stars is to find the backwards question mark. The question mark is the front of his body and head.
Containing the orange and fourth brightest star, Arcturus, Boötes is also home to many more bright stars. He actually totals 29 stars that can be seen with the human eye. Located in the northern sky, the name means ploughman or herdsman or ox-driver, and he is best found in sky during late May.
Griffith Observatory is a fine example of an awesome place to observe the constellations. The building is astrologically designed, the observatory holds free public star gazing events from 2:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Volunteers from different astronomical societies assist the public in viewing the constellations. The public can view the sun, moon and other visible planets and objects. A variety of telescopes is available as astronomers talk about what is up in the sky and their equipment.
What are the Constellations?
What Constellation Can You Find Easily?
All of the Constellations in HD
Best to View the Constellations
You are interested in viewing the constellations. It is best to take a drive out away from the city lights such as the mountains or open fields, a place where there are no lights and darkness is everywhere. Lay down on a blanket looking up at the stars and see the magical world of the Heavens.
© 2015 Kenna McHugh