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Constellations

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A constellation is a division of the celestial sphere. 88 such divisions exist. The term constellation, by extension, is usually used to denote a group of stars that can be seen with the naked eye and are placed in such a way that they form a recognisable pattern.

Some constellations are very familiar and easily recognizable and evocative, like Ursa Major, Orion or Scorpio; others are small and faint and require some trained eye to spot them, like Camelopardalis, Monoceros or Chamaeleon.

The constellations

All 88 constellations have latin names. The name between brackets is the genitive form of the name, used for star nomenclature (see below).

Andromeda (Andromedae) • Antlia (Antliae) • Apus (Apodis) • Aquarius (Aquarii) • Aquila (Aquilae) • Ara (Arae) • Aries (Ari) • Auriga (Aurigae) • Boötes (Boötis) • Caelum (Caeli) • Camelopardalis (Camelopardalis) • Cancer (Cancri) • Canes Venatici (Canes Venatici) • Canis Major (Canis Majoris) • Canis Minor (Canis Minoris) • Capricornus (Capricorni) • Carina (Carinae) • Cassiopeia (Cassiopeiae) • Centaurus (Centauri) • Cepheus (Cephei) • Cetus (Ceti) • Chamaeleon (Chamaeleontis) • Circinus (Circini) • Columba (Columbae) • Coma Berenices (Comae Berenices) • Corona Australis (Coronae Australis) • Corona Borealis (Coronae Borealis) • Corvus (Corvi) • Crater (Crateris) • Crux (Crucis) • Cygnus (Cygni) • Delphinus (Delphini) • Dorado (Doradus) • Draco (Draconis) • Equuleus (Equulei) • Eridanus (Eridani) • Fornax (Fornacis) • Gemini (Geminorum) • Grus (Gruis) • Hercules (Herculei) • Horologium (Horologii) • Hydra (Hydrae) • Hydrus (Hydri) • Indus (Indi) • Lacerta (Lacertae) • Leo (Leonis) • Leo Minor (Leonis Minoris) • Lepus (Lepi) • Libra (Librae) • Lupus (Lupi) • Lynx (Lyncis) • Lyra (Lyrae) • Mensa (Mensae) • Microscopium (Microscopii) • Monoceros (Monocerotis) • Musca (Muscae) • Norma (Normae) • Octans (Octantis) • Ophiuchus (Ophiuchi) • Orion (Orionis) • Pavo (Pavonis) • Pegasus (Pegasi) • Perseus (Persei) • Phoenix (Phoenicis) • Pictor (Pictoris) • Pisces (Piscium) • Piscis Austrinus (Piscis Austrini) • Puppis (Puppis) • Pyxis (Pyxis) • Reticulum (Reticuli) • Sagitta (Sagittae) • Sagittarius (Sagittari) • Scorpius (Scorpii) • Sculptor (Sculptoris) • Scutum (Scuti) • Serpens (Serpentis) • Sextans (Sextantis) • Taurus (Tauri) • Telescopium (Telescopii) • Triangulum (Trianguli) • Triangulum Australe (Trianguli Australis) • Tucana (Tucanae) • Ursa Major (Ursae Majoris) • Ursa Minor (Ursae Minoris) • Vela (Velorum) • Virgo (Virginis) • Volans (Volantis) • Vulpecula (Vulpeculae)

Star nomenclature

Some stars are named after the constellation in which they are found. The Bayer designation designates a star by a letter of the greek alphabet followed by the genitive form of the constellation name (exemple: Alpha Centauri); the Flamsteed designation (exemple: 16 Cygni) is built the same way, except that the greek letter is replaced by a number. Finally, the variable star designations, where two capital letters precede the genitive of the constellation name (exemple: UV Ceti). The vast majority of the stars, however, being too faint to be seen with the naked eye, are only referred to by a catalog number they have been assigned.

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