The Constellations

Origin of the Constellations

Ever since people first wandered the Earth, great significance has been given to the celestial objects seen in the sky. Throughout human history and across many different cultures, names and mythical stories have been attributed to the star patterns in the night sky, thus giving birth to what we know as constellations.

When were the first constellations recorded? Archaeological studies have identified possible astronomical markings painted on the walls in the cave system at Lascaux in southern France. Our ancestors may have recorded their view of the night sky on the walls of their cave some 17 300 years ago. It is thought that the Pleiades star cluster is represented alongside the nearby cluster of the Hyades. Was the first ever depiction of a star pattern made over seventeen millennia ago? (Rappenglück 1996)

The ancient Greeks were the first to describe over half of the 88 constellations recognised by the IAU today. Forty eight of the constellations we know were recorded in the seventh and eighth books of Claudius Ptolemy’s Almagest, although the exact origin of these constellations still remains uncertain. Ptolemy’s descriptions are probably strongly influenced by the work of Eudoxus of Knidos in around 350 BC. Between the 16th and 17th century AD, European astronomers and celestial cartographers added new constellations to the 48 previously described by Ptolemy; these new constellations were mainly “new discoveries” made by the Europeans who first explored the southern hemisphere. Those who made particular contributions to the “new” constellations include the Polish-born, German astronomer Johannes Hevelius; three Dutch cartographers, Frederick de Houtman, Pieter Dirksz Keyser and Gerard Mercator; the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille; the Flemish mapmaker Petrus Plancius and the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.

 

IAU and the 88 Constellations

Originally the constellations were defined informally by the shapes made by their star patterns, but, as the pace of celestial discoveries quickened in the early 20th century, astronomers decided it would be helpful to have an official set of constellation boundaries. One reason was to aid in the naming of new variable stars, which brighten and fade rather than shine steadily. Such stars are named for the constellation in which they reside, so it is important to agree where one constellation ends and the next begins.

Eugène Delporte originally listed the 88 “modern” constellations on behalf of the IAU Commission 3 (Astronomical Notations), in Délimitation scientifique des constellations. (Delporte, 1930) 



Constellation Figures

 

In star maps it is common to mark line “patterns” that represent the shapes that give the name to the constellations. However, the IAU defines a constellation by its boundary (indicated by sky coordinates) and not by its pattern and the same constellation may have several variants in its representation.

The constellations should be differentiated from asterisms. Asterisms are patterns or shapes of stars that are not related to the known constellations, but nonetheless are widely recognised by laypeople or in the amateur astronomy community. Examples of asterisms include the seven bright stars in Ursa Major known as “the Plough” in Europe or “the Big Dipper” in America, as well as “the Summer Triangle”, a large triangle, seen in the summer night sky in the northern hemisphere and composed of the bright stars Altair, Deneb and Vega. Whilst a grouping of stars may be officially designated a constellation by the IAU, this does not mean that the stars in that constellation are necessarily grouped together in space. Sometimes stars will be physically close to each other, like the Pleiades, but constellations are generally really a matter of perspective. They are simply our Earth-based interpretation of two dimensional star patterns on the sky made up of stars of many differing brightnesses and distances from Earth.

 

Constellation Names

Each Latin constellation name has two forms: the nominative, for use when talking about the constellation itself, and the genitive, or possessive, which is used in star names. For instance, Hamal, the brightest star in the constellation Aries (nominative form), is also called Alpha Arietis (genitive form), meaning literally “the alpha of Aries”.

The Latin names of all the constellations, their abbreviated names and boundaries can be found in the table below. They are a mix of the ancient Greek patterns recorded by Ptolemy as well as some more “modern” patterns observed later by more modern astronomers.

The IAU adopted three-letter abbreviations of the constellation names at its inaugural General Assembly in Rome in 1922. So, for instance, Andromeda is abbreviated to And whilst Draco is abbreviated to Dra.



Pronunciation of Constellation Names

Experienced astronomers, both professional and amateur, pronounce constellation names in many different ways, but have no trouble understanding each other. There is no single correct way of pronouncing a constellation name, and there are several sources that address the issue. (See also Covington (2002), Davis (1942), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language). See for instance:

 

Charts and tables

The charts below were produced in collaboration with Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg). Alan MacRobert's constellation patterns, drawn in green in the charts, were influenced by those of H. A. Rey but in many cases were adjusted to preserve earlier traditions.

Quick links : And , Ant, Aps, Aqr, Aql, Ara, Ari, Aur, Boo, Cae, Cam, Cnc, CVn, CMa, CMi, Cap, Car, Cas, Cen, Cep, Cet, Cha, Cir, Col, Com, CrA, CrB, Crv, Crt, Cru, Cyg, Del, Dor, Dra, Equ, Eri, For, Gem, Gru, Her, Hor, Hya, Hyi, Ind, Lac, Leo, LMi, Lep, Lib, Lup, Lyn, Lyr, Men, Mic, Mon, Mus, Nor, Oct, Oph, Ori, Pav, Peg, Per, Phe, Pic, Psc, PsA, Pup, Pyx, Ret, Sge, Sgr, Sco, Scl, Sct, Ser, Sex, Tau, Tel, Tri, TrA, Tuc, UMa, UMi, Vel, Vir, Vol, Vul , Chart text legend

Charts Graphical Legend

Charts

Name /
Pronunciation
Abbr. English Name Genitive /
Pronunciation
Downloads

Andromeda

an-DRAH-mih-duh
And the Chained Maiden Andromedae
an-DRAH-mih-dee

Constellation charts
GIF (117 KB)
PDF (829 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (2 KB)

Antlia

ANT-lee-uh
Ant the Air Pump Antliae
ANT-lee-ee

Constellation charts
GIF (111 KB)
PDF (815 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Apus

APE-us, APP-us

Aps the Bird of Paradise

Apodis

APP-oh-diss

Constellation charts
GIF (155 KB)
PDF (836 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Aquarius

uh-QUAIR-ee-us

Aqr the Water Bearer

Aquarii

uh-QUAIR-ee-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (124 KB)
PDF (879 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Aquila

ACK-will-uh, uh-QUILL-uh

Aql the Eagle

Aquilae

ACK-will-ee, uh-QUILL-ee

Constellation charts
GIF (108 KB)
PDF (820KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Ara

AIR-uh, AR-uh

Ara the Altar

Arae

AIR-ee, AR-ee

Constellation charts
GIF (114 KB)
PDF (807 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Aries

AIR-eez, AIR-ee-yeez

Ari the Ram

Arietis

uh-RYE-ih-tiss

Constellation charts
GIF (118 KB)
PDF (805 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Auriga

aw-RYE-guh

Aur the Charioteer

Aurigae

aw-RYE-ghee

Constellation charts
GIF (122 KB)
PDF (381 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Boötes

bo-OH-teez

Boo the Herdsman

Boötis

bo-OH-tiss

Constellation charts
GIF (147 KB)
PDF (823KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Caelum

SEE-lum

Cae the Engraving Tool

Caeli

SEE-lye

Constellation charts
GIF (97 KB)
PDF (780 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Camelopardalis

cuh-MEL-oh- PAR-duh-liss

Cam the Giraffe

Camelopardalis

cuh-MEL-oh- PAR-duh-liss

CANE-um (CAN-um) ve-nat-ih-COR-um

Constellation charts
GIF (156 KB)
PDF (888 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (2 KB)

Cancer

CAN-ser

Cnc the Crab

Cancri

CANG-cry

Constellation charts
GIF (108 KB)
PDF (814 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Canes Venatici

CANE-eez (CAN-eez) ve-NAT-iss-eye

CVn the Hunting Dogs Canum Venaticorum

Constellation charts
GIF (106 KB)
PDF (790 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Canis Major

CANE-iss (CAN-iss) MAY-jer

CMa the Great Dog

Canis Majoris

CANE-iss (CAN-iss) muh-JOR-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (134 KB)
PDF (849 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Canis Minor

CANE-iss (CAN-iss) MY-ner

CMi the Lesser Dog

Canis Minoris

CANE-iss (CAN-iss) mih-NOR-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (83 KB)
PDF (766 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Capricornus

CAP-rih-CORN-us

Cap the Sea Goat

Capricorni

CAP-rih-CORN-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (98 KB)
PDF (818 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Carina

cuh-RYE-nuh, cuh-REE-nuh

Car the Keel

Carinae

cuh-RYE-nee, cuh-REE-nee

Constellation charts
GIF (143 KB)
PDF (882 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Cassiopeia

CASS-ee-uh-PEE-uh

Cas the Seated Queen

Cassiopeiae

CASS-ee-uh-PEE-ye

Constellation charts
GIF (139 KB)
PDF (846 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Centaurus Cen the Centaur Centauri

Constellation charts
GIF (178 KB)
PDF (549 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Cepheus Cep the King Cephei

Constellation charts
GIF (200 KB)
PDF (873 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (2 KB)

Cetus

SEE-tus

Cet the Sea Monster

Ceti

SEE-tie

Constellation charts
GIF (122 KB)
PDF (873 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Chamaeleon

cuh-MEAL-yun, cuh-MEAL-ee-un

Cha the Chameleon

Chamaeleontis

cuh-MEAL-ee-ON-tiss

Constellation charts
GIF (183 KB)
PDF (834 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Circinus

SER-sin-us

Cir the Compass

Circini

SER-sin-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (131 KB)
PDF (818 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Columba

cuh-LUM-buh

Col the Dove

Columbae

cuh-LUM-bee

Constellation charts
GIF (99 KB)
PDF (797 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Coma Berenices

COE-muh BER-uh-NICE-eez

Com the Bernice's Hair

Comae Berenices

COE-mee BER-uh-NICE-eez

Constellation charts
GIF (101 KB)
PDF (788 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Corona Australis

cuh-ROE-nuh aw-STRAL-iss3

CrA the Southern Crown

Coronae Australis

cuh-ROE-nee aw-STRAL-iss3

Constellation charts
GIF (107 KB)
PDF (787 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Corona Borealis

cuh-ROE-nuh bor-ee-AL-iss3

CrB the Northern Crown cuh-ROE-nee bor-ee-AL-iss3

Constellation charts
GIF (89 KB)
PDF (771 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Corvus

COR-vus

Crv the Crow

Corvi

COR-vye

Constellation charts
GIF (74 KB)
PDF (763 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Crater

CRAY-ter

Crt the Cup

Crateris

cruh-TEE-riss

Constellation charts
GIF (75 KB)
PDF (787 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Crux

CRUCKS, CROOKS

Cru the Southern Cross

Crucis

CROO-siss

Constellation charts
GIF (119 KB)
PDF (811 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Cygnus

SIG- SIG-nu

Cyg the Swan

Cygni

SIG-nye

Constellation charts
GIF (174 KB)
PDF (866 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Delphinus

del-FINE-us, del-FIN-us

Del the Dolphin

Delphini

del-FINE-eye, del-FIN-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (81 KB)
PDF (767 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Dorado

duh-RAH-do

Dor the Swordfish

Doradus

duh-RAH-dus

Constellation charts
GIF (108 KB)
PDF (795 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Draco

DRAY-co

Dra the Dragon

Draconis

druh-CONE-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (153 KB)
PDF (898 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (2 KB)

Equuleus

eh-QUOO-lee-us

Equ the Little Horse

Equulei

eh-QUOO-lee-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (69 KB)
PDF (749 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Eridanus

ih-RID-un-us

Eri the River

Eridani

ih-RID-un-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (167 KB)
PDF (941 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (2 KB)

Fornax

FOR-naks

For the Furnace

Fornacis

for-NAY-siss

Constellation charts
GIF (108 KB)
PDF (811 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Gemini

JEM-uh-nye, JEM-uh-nee

Gem the Twins

Geminorum

JEM-uh-NOR-um

Constellation charts
GIF (122 KB)
PDF (832 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Grus

GRUSS, GROOS

Gru the Crane

Gruis

GROO-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (127 KB)
PDF (829 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Hercules

HER-kyuh-leez

Her the Hercules

Herculis

HER-kyuh-liss

Constellation charts
GIF (156 KB)
PDF (829 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Horologium

hor-uh-LOE-jee-um

Hor the Clock

Horologii

hor-uh-LOE-jee-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (107 KB)
PDF (788 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Hydra

HIGH-druh

Hya the Female Water Snake

Hydrae

HIGH-dree

Constellation charts
GIF (127 KB)
PDF (929 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (2 KB)

Hydrus

HIGH-drus

Hyi the Male Water Snake

Hydri

HIGH-dry

Constellation charts
GIF (143 KB)
PDF (821 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Indus

IN-dus

Ind the Indian

Indi

IN-dye

Constellation charts
GIF (131 KB)
PDF (834 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Lacerta

luh-SER-tuh

Lac the Lizard

Lacertae

luh-SER-tee

Constellation charts
GIF (124 KB)
PDF (812 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Leo

LEE-oh

Leo the Lion

Leonis

lee-OH-niss

Constellation charts
GIF (142 KB)
PDF (820 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Leo Minor

LEE-oh MY-ner

LMi the Lesser Lion

Leonis Minoris

lee-OH-niss mih-NOR-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (103 KB)
PDF (799 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Lepus

LEEP-us, LEP-us

Lep the Hare

Leporis

LEP-or-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (94 KB)
PDF (787 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Libra

LEE-bruh, LYE-bruh

Lib the Scales

Librae

LEE-bree, LYE-bree

Constellation charts
GIF (111 KB)
PDF (819 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Lupus

LOOP-us

Lup the Wolf

Lupi

LOOP-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (137 KB)
PDF (857 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Lynx

LINKS

Lyn the Lynx

Lyncis

LIN-siss

Constellation charts
GIF (111 KB)
PDF (796 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Lyra

LYE-ruh

Lyr the Lyre

Lyrae

LYE-ree

Constellation charts
GIF (91 KB)
PDF (776 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Mensa

MEN-suh

Men the Table Mountain

Mensae

MEN-see

Constellation charts
GIF (161 KB)
PDF (827 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Microscopium

my-cruh-SCOPE-ee-um

Mic the Microscope

Microscopii

my-cruh-SCOPE-ee-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (87 KB)
PDF (776 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Monoceros

muh-NAH-ser-us

Mon the Unicorn

Monocerotis

muh-NAH-ser-OH-tiss

Constellation charts
GIF (110 KB)
PDF (821 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Musca

MUSS-cuh

Mus the Fly

Muscae

MUSS-see, MUSS-kee

Constellation charts
GIF (134 KB)
PDF (828 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Norma

NOR-muh

Nor the Carpenter's Square

Normae

NOR-mee

Constellation charts
GIF (118 KB)
PDF (803 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Octans

OCK-tanz

Oct the Octant

Octantis

ock-TAN-tiss

Constellation charts
GIF (140 KB)
PDF (821 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Ophiuchus

OFF-ee-YOO-kus, OAF-ee-YOO-kus

Oph the Serpent Bearer

Ophiuchi

OFF-ee-YOO-kye, OAF-ee-YOO-kye

Constellation charts
GIF (175 KB)
PDF (854 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (2 KB)

Orion

oh-RYE-un, uh-RYE-un

Ori the Hunter

Orionis

or-eye-OH-niss

Constellation charts
GIF (181 KB)
PDF (873 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Pavo

PAY-vo

Pav the Peacock

Pavonis

puh-VOE-niss

Constellation charts
GIF (143 KB)
PDF (859 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Pegasus

PEG-us-us

Peg the Winged Horse

Pegasi

PEG-us-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (136 KB)
PDF (868 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (2 KB)

Perseus

PER-see-us, PER-syoos

Per the Hero

Persei

PER-see-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (127 KB)
PDF (836 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Phoenix

FEE-nix

Phe

the Phoenix

 

Phoenicis

fuh-NICE-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (119 KB)
PDF (828 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Pictor

PICK-ter

Pic the Painter's Easel

Pictoris

pick-TOR-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (108 KB)
PDF (794 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Pisces

PICE-eez, PISS-eez

Psc the Fishes

Piscium

PICE-ee-um, PISH-ee-um

Constellation charts
GIF (87 KB)
PDF (859 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Piscis Austrinus

PICE-iss (PISS-iss) aw-STRY-nus

PsA the Southern Fish

Piscis Austrini

PICE-iss (PISS-iss) aw-STRY-nye

Constellation charts
GIF (87 KB)
PDF (778 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Puppis

PUP-iss

Pup the Stern

Puppis

PUP-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (185 KB)
PDF (868 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Pyxis

PIX-iss

Pyx the Compass

Pyxidis

PIX-ih-diss

Constellation charts
GIF (84 KB)
PDF (775 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Reticulum

rih-TICK-yuh-lum

Ret the Reticle

Reticuli

rih-TICK-yuh-lye

Constellation charts
GIF (107 KB)
PDF (786 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Sagitta

suh-JIT-uh

Sge the Arrow

Sagittae

suh-JIT-ee

Constellation charts
GIF (90 KB)
PDF (773 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Sagittarius

SAJ-ih-TARE-ee-us

Sgr the Archer

Sagittarii

SAJ-ih-TARE-ee-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (163 KB)
PDF (878 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Scorpius

SCOR-pee-us

Sco the Scorpion

Scorpii

SCOR-pee-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (194 KB)
PDF (874 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Sculptor

SCULP-ter

Scl the Sculptor

Sculptoris

sculp-TOR-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (119 KB)
PDF (810 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Scutum

SCOOT-um, SCYOOT-um

Sct the Shield

Scuti

SCOOT-eye, SCYOOT-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (120 KB)
PDF (784 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Serpens

SER-punz

Ser the Serpent

Serpentis

ser-PEN-tiss

Constellation charts (Serpens Caput)
GIF (112 KB)
PDF (780 KB)

Constellation boundary (Serpens Caput)
TXT (1 KB)

Constellation charts (Serpens Cauda)
GIF (126 KB)
PDF (791 KB)

Constellation boundary (Serpens Cauda)
TXT (1 KB)

Sextans

SEX-tunz

Sex the Sextant

Sextantis

sex-TAN-tiss

Constellation charts
GIF (83 KB)
PDF (782 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Taurus

TOR-us

Tau the Bull

Tauri

TOR-eye

Constellation charts
GIF (115 KB)
PDF (832 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Telescopium Tel the Telescope Telescopii

Constellation charts
GIF (148 KB)
PDF (834 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Triangulum

try-ANG-gyuh-lum

Tri the Triangle

Trianguli

try-ANG-gyuh-lye

Constellation charts
GIF (89 KB)
PDF (764 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Triangulum Australe

try-ANG-gyuh-lum aw-STRAL-ee

TrA the Southern Triangle

Trianguli Australis

try-ANG-gyuh-lye aw-STRAL-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (124 KB)
PDF (815 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Tucana

too-KAY-nuh, too-KAH-nuh

Tuc the Toucan

Tucanae

too-KAY-nee, too-KAH-nee

Constellation charts
GIF (127 KB)
PDF (806 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Ursa Major

ER-suh MAY-jur

UMa the Great Bear

Ursae Majoris

ER-suh muh-JOR-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (174 KB)
PDF (885 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Ursa Minor

ER-suh MY-ner

UMi the Little Bear

Ursae Minoris

ER-suh mih-NOR-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (135 KB)
PDF (800 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Vela

VEE-luh, VAY-luh

Vel the Sails

Velorum

vee-LOR-um, vuh-LOR-um

Constellation charts
GIF (131 KB)
PDF (850 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Virgo

VER-go

Vir the Maiden

Virginis

VER-jin-iss

Constellation charts
GIF (98 KB)
PDF (831 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Volans

VOH-lanz

Vol the Flying Fish

Volantis

vo-LAN-tiss

Constellation charts
GIF (123 KB)
PDF (812 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)

Vulpecula

vul-PECK-yuh-luh

Vul the Fox

Vulpeculae

vul-PECK-yuh-lee

Constellation charts
GIF (124 KB)
PDF (805 KB)

Constellation boundary
TXT (1 KB)


Charts Text Legend

 

Each constellation comes with the following basic information:

  1. Name
  2. Pronunciation of the name
  3. Abbreviation
  4. English Name
  5. Genitive
  6. Pronunciation of the genitive
  7. Chart for screen view (GIF)
  8. Chart for printing (PDF in A4 format)
  9. Boundary coordinates (TXT)

Explanation of the fields:

  1. The name is the Latin name adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1930.
  2.  Pronunciation as described above.
  3.  Abbreviation, the standard three-letter form of the Latin name.
  4. The popular name in English.
  5. The genitive is the possessive form of the constellation’s name in Latin. For example, alpha Orionis is the alpha star in the constellation of Orion.
  6. Pronunciation as described above.
  7. Chart in GIF format, 1000 pixels wide.
  8. Chart in PDF format, to be printed in A4 format.
  9.  A text file containing a set of coordinates that defines the boundaries of the constellations in the sky. The format is:
    HH MM SS.SSSS| DD.DDDDDDD|XXX

    Where:
    HH MM SS.SSSS defines the right ascension hour, minute and second with J2000 coordinates
    DD.DDDDDDD defines the declination with J2000 coordinates
    XXX is the abbreviation of the constellation name
    | is the separator of the fields

    Example:
    22 57 51.6729| 35.1682358|AND




References

  • COVINGTON, M. A. Celestial Objects for Modern Telescopes .Cambridge University Press, 2002. pp. 80-84.
  • DAVENHALL, A. C.; LEGGETT, S. K. Constellation Boundary Data (Davenhall+ 1989). VizieR On-line Data Catalog: VI/49, 1997 (Online data: http://vizier.cfa.harvard.edu/viz-bin/VizieR?-source=VI/49 )
  • RAPPENGLÜCK, M. A. The Pleiades in the “Salle des Taureaux”, Grotte de Lascaux (France). Does a Rock Picture in the Cave of Lascaux Show the Open Star Cluster of the Pleiades at the Magdalénien Era, ca. 15.300 B.C.? Actas del IV Congreso de la SEAC/Proceedings of the IVth SEAC Meeting "Astronomy and Culture". C. Jaschek and F. Atrio Barandela (eds.). Salamanca, 1996, pp. 217-225.

  • RIDPATH, I. The IAU list of constellations webpage:
    http://www.ianridpath.com/iaulist1.htm