The definition of a constellation is a group of stars that create a pattern in the sky.
Facts About Constellations
- The International Astronomical Union (IAU) met for the first time in 1922. They picked the 88 constellations which we use today.
- In 1930, the IAU set the boundaries for each constellation so that any object in the sky is within one of these 88 constellations.
- The brightest constellation is the Southern Cross (Crux).
- The constellation with the most stars is the Water Snake (Hydra).
- The names of the major constellations are:
- Andromeda - Princess of Ethiopia or the Chained Lady
- Cassiopeia - Queen of Ethiopia or Andromeda's Mother
- Cephus - King of Ethiopia or Andromeda's Father
- Cetus - The Sea Monster
- Corona Borealis - The Northern Crown
- Draco - The Dragon
- Eridanus - The River
- Hercules - Hercules (from mythology)
- Lyra - The Lyre
- Perseus - The Hero
- Asterisms are smaller star patterns inside a constellation. Here is a list of asterisms, the constellation where they are found, and the translation of the name:
- The Big Dipper - Ursa Major - The Greater Bear
- The Little Dipper - Ursa Minor - The Lesser Bear
- The Pleiades - Taurus - The Bull
- The Northern Cross - Cygnus - The Swan
- Orion’s Belt - Orion - The Hunter
An example of a constellation is Ursa Major.
The constellation Ursa Major.
constellation definition by Webster's New World
- a group of stars in the sky, usually named after some object, animal, or mythological being that it supposedly resembles or suggests
- the area of the sky assigned to such a group of stars: currently the sky is considered to have 88 constellations
- any brilliant cluster, gathering, or collection
- Astrol. the grouping of celestial bodies at any particular time, esp. at a person's birth
- Psychol. a group of related thoughts or feelings regarded as clustered about one central idea
Origin: Middle English constellacion ; from Old French ; from Late Latin constellatio ; from constellatus, set with stars ; from Classical Latin com-, with plush past participle of stellare, to shine ; from stella, star
- constellatory adjective
constellation definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- Astronomy a. An arbitrary formation of stars perceived as a figure or design, especially one of 88 recognized groups named after characters from classical mythology and various common animals and objects.b. An area of the celestial sphere occupied by one of the 88 recognized constellations.
- The configuration of planets at the time of one's birth, regarded by astrologers as determining one's character or fate.
- A gathering or an assemblage, especially of prominent persons or things: The symposium was attended by a constellation of artists and writers.
- A set or configuration, as of related items, properties, ideas, or individuals: a constellation of demands ranging from better food to improved health care; a constellation of feelings about the divorce.
Origin: Middle English constellacioun, from Old French constellation, from Late Latin cōnstellātiō, cōnstellātiōn- : Latin com-, com- + Latin stēlla, star; see ster-3 in Indo-European roots.
- con·stelˈla·toˌry adjective
constellation - Computer Definition
constellation - Cultural Definition
constellation - Science Definition
- A group of stars seen as forming a figure or design in the sky, especially one of 88 officially recognized groups, many of which are based on mythological traditions from ancient Greek and Middle Eastern civilizations.
- An area of the sky occupied by one of the 88 recognized constellations. These irregularly defined areas completely fill the celestial sphere and divide it into nonoverlapping sections used in describing the location of celestial objects.