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.
- 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 of constellationMiddle English constellacion ; from Old French ; from Late Latin constellatio ; from constellatus, set with stars ; from Classical Latin com-, with + past participle of stellare, to shine ; from stella, star
- Astronomy a. A grouping of stars on the celestial sphere perceived as a figure or design, especially one of the 88 recognized groups named after characters from classical Greek and Roman mythology as well as 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 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 of constellationMiddle English constellacioun, from Old French constellation, from Late Latin cōnstēllātiō, cōnstēllātiōn- : Latin com-, com- + Latin stēlla, star; see ster-3 in Indo-European roots.
- An arbitrary formation of stars perceived as a figure or pattern.
- An image associated with a group of stars.
- (astronomy) Any of the 88 officially recognized regions of the sky, including all stars and celestial bodies in the region.
- (astrology) The configuration of planets at a given time (notably of birth), as used for determining a horoscope.
- (figuratively) A wide, seemingly unlimited assortment.
- A configuration or grouping.
From Middle English constellacioun, constillacioun, from Middle French constellation, from Latin constellātiō, from cōn (“with”) + stēlla (“star, astral body”).