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Constellations

Constellations are formed of bright stars which appear close to each other on the sky, but are really far apart in space. The shapes you see all depend on your point of view. Many societies saw patterns among the stars with gods and goddesses or stories from their culture. Most of the constellations with which we are familiar come from ancient Greece. But other civilizations created their own patterns in the sky based on stories and people that were important to them. Many peoples noticed that the planets, the moon, and comets moved through the sky in a different way than the stars. Because of the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the Sun, we divide the constellations into two groups. Some constellations never rise nor set, and they are calledcircumpolar. All the rest are divided into seasonalconstellations. Which constellations will be circumpolar and which seasonal depends on your latitude. Each culture has its own constellations, usually based on mythology. This article covers the 88 constellations used in modern astronomy, which properly speaking are not patterns of stars, as in the common use of the word, but areas of the sky (the celestial sphere). The ancient Babylonians, and later the Greeks (as recorded by Ptolemy), established most of the northern constellations in international use today. When European explorers mapped the stars of the southern skies, European and American astronomers proposed new constellations for that region, as well as ones to fill gaps between the traditional constellations. Not all of these proposals caught on, but in 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted the modern list of 88 constellations. After this, Eugène Delporte drew up precise boundaries for each constellation, so that every point in the sky belonged to exactly one constellation.

Then you might recognize the two bright stars in the upper and lower left of the photograph as Procyon in Canis Minor and Sirius in Canis Major. if you spot three bright stars in a row in the winter evening. respectively. this is very different from the photo above.000 years (and probably even more!). farmers and astronomers have made up over the past 6. This type of schematic draws the stars as different sizes to represent different brightnesses. you can remember that Orion's Hunting Dogs are always nearby. there is a standard way to connect the stars that allow astronomers and others who use charts like this to quickly tell what they are looking at. The real purpose for the constellations is to help us tell which stars are which. the rest of the constellation falls into place and you can declare: "There's Betelgeuse in Orion's left shoulder and Rigel is his foot. On a really dark night. The constellations help by breaking up the sky into more managable bits. "Oh! That's part of Orion!" Suddenly.The first thing you need to know is that constellations are not real! The constellations are totally imaginary things that poets. nothing more. In . In addition. you might realize. you can see about 1000 to 1500 stars." And once you recognize Orion. you might see diagrams like this: Obviously. They are used as mnemonics. For example. or memory aids. When you look in a sky atlas. Trying to tell which is which is hard.

For example. so we know the constellations are helpful for remembering the stars. But in some regions. they would know it was time to begin the planting or the reaping. Where did the constellations come from? OK. which can't be seen without a telescope. Since different constellations are visible at different times of the year. You might also notice that every star on the chart is labeled (sorry that it came out a little blurry). In addition. but why would people want to do that (besides astronomers. there is not much differentiation between the seasons. you plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. Why did they do that? Was it for some religious purpose? Yes and no. that is)? After all. farmers know that for most crops. Barnard's Loop on the left and M42 in the bottom middle are pointed out. Some historians suspect that many of the myths associated with the constellations were invented to help the farmers remember them. Around the world. This chart is useful because it accurately shows the relative positions of the stars in this small region of the sky. you will see Orion drawn with these same lines. Barnard's Loop is a cloud of faintly glowing gas. Perhaps there is something .almost every star atlas. When they saw certain constellations. M42 is the Great Orion Nebula and it is the red splotch in Orion's Sword in the photo above. This dependence on the sky became a strong part of many cultures. For example. I said at the beginning that farmers invented the constellations. other things besides stars are also labeled on the chart. Scorpius is only visible in the northern hemisphere's evening sky in the summer. you can use them to tell what month it is.

There are also numerous historical constellations not recognized by the IAU. In 1929. such as Chinese. The majority of these go back to the 48 constellations defined by Ptolemy in his Almagest (2nd century). They are at about the same scale and they show the same stars. it shows the great hunter Orion. the Hare. There are 88 standard constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) since 1922. Canis Major. The picture at the left is an ornate star chart printed in 1835. In this one. In modern astronomy. a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted official constellation boundaries that defined the 88 official constellations that exist today. or constellations recognized in regional traditions of astronomy or astrology. defined in Coelum australe stelliferum by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (1763).about the mystery of the night sky that makes people want to tell stories about the constellations. the Bull. is chasing Lepus. many of the constellations have been redefined so now every star in the sky is in exactly one constellation. Like the others. In our modern world. Compare this picture to the photo near the top of the page. Hindu or Australian Aboriginal. Behind him. . he is holding a lion's head instead of his traditional bow or shield. The constellations have changed over time. The remaining ones were defined in the 17th and 18th century. the most recent ones are found on the southern sky. These areas are grouped around asterisms. his faithful dog. He has an eager look in his eye as he stalks Taurus. patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky.

C.W.PROJECT IN SCIENCE AND HEALTH VI Of Shania magayam Grade VI-Charity R. Emerald Mingoa Subject Teacher .S Mrs.