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Check back soon for our updated observing page featuring constellations, objects of interest, and commonly asked observing questions.
What is a constellation?
A constellation is a collection of stars, but it’s also a collection of borders in the sky. In 1928, the International Astronomical Union (or IAU) agreed on a set of 88 constellations which cover the entire celestial sphere.
Where is the Big Dipper? The Little Dipper? The Teapot?
Some of the most popular and easily recognizable patterns in the night sky are not actually constellations, but asterisms. An asterism is a named pattern of stars that is smaller than a constellation. While the IAU recognizes 88 constellations, many stargazers recognize familiar asterisms in portions of these constellations, such as the Big Dipper in Ursa Major, the Little Dipper in Ursa Minor, or the Teapot in Sagittarius. Knowing these popular asterisms can help stargazers quickly identify constellations and easily orient themselves in the night sky.
Click here to be taken to the IAU’s Constellation page
What’s the North Star? Why is it important?