Even More Constellations!

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When the sun sets at night, assorted constellations reveal themselves against the black soup of space. As the night progresses, some of these constellations set below the horizon, and others rise to take their places. The parade of constellations continues all night long until the sun rises again and obscures the stars from our sight.

Of all the constellations in the northers sky, few are more easily recognizable than Ursa Major, the Great bear. This constellation contains the Big Dipper, one of the most familiar groupings of stars.

The Big Dipper By BreakdownDiode – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=98929611

The constellation containing Polaris (the North Star) is Ursa Minor, or the little bear. Polaris is located at the end of the bear’s tail. The Little Bear is more commonly called the Little Dipper.

Polaris (North Star) By NASA/HST – http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2006/02/image/a (Image: STScI-2006-02), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1392815

The constellation Leo, the Lion is best seen during the spring. Regulus, the brightest star in this constellation, marks one of the lion’s front paws.

Leo Constellation – By Till Credner – Own work, http://www.AlltheSky.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9294470

On the other side of the Big Dipper is Cygnus, the Swan.  The Swan’s brightest star, Deneb, is located at the top of the Northern Cross, formed by the five brightest stars in the constellation.

Cygnus, Lyra – By Till Credner – Own work: AlltheSky.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20041366

Curving around the Little Dipper is the long tail of  Draco, the Dragon. Draco has a very thin body and a large, somewhat diamond shaped head. This constellation is best seen during the summer.

Draco, Ursa Minor By Till Credner – Own work: AlltheSky.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20041478

I will finish the constellation in the Northern Hemisphere in the next post!

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