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Winter Constellations in the Northern Hemisphere

A lot of people prefer to be indoors during the cold winter nights. In most cases, you will find people turning on the heater and wrapping themselves in a blanket. Well, star gazers in the northern hemisphere tend to defy this trend as this is the period in which some of the most beautiful constellations are visible. Other than being appealing to the eyes, these winter constellations usually drag along interesting stories with them. Here are three mythologies behind four constellations that will make you join the rest of the star gazers next winter.

Cancer (Scorpion)

While you can see this constellation from the late autumn months to the spring months, those in the southern hemisphere will see it during the summer months. It is usually upside down in the southern hemisphere. Its brightest star is Altaf. Other than the fact that the tropic of cancer got its name from this constellation, the Greek mythology behind it will amaze you. It got its story from Hercules, the son of Zeus. When he found out that his step-mom, Hera, was trying to kill him, he got furious and killed six of her sons. Once he recovered from his fury, he felt sorry and asked Hera to punish him for this act. She sent him to King Eurystheus, who was to give him some tasks to do. One of his tasks was to kill the Hydra, a serpent which had multiple heads. Despite the snake trying to distract him with some Scorpions, he was able to kill it. As a sign of honour, Hera sent the scorpions to the stars.

Leo (Lion)

In the northern hemisphere, you can see it between January and June. In the southern hemisphere, you ought to look for it in the summer months. Its brightest star is Regulus. Similar to the cancer constellation, it derives its story to that of Hercules and Hera. As part of his first task, King Eurystheus sent Hercules to the city of Nemea where he was to kill a lion that had been tormenting the people of this city. To his surprise, the lion had a golden fur that deflected any arrow that he shot during the first attempt to kill it. In the second attempt, Hercules covered the entrances of the lion’s lair and beat it to death with a club. The lion was later placed in the sky as the Leo constellation.

Gemini (Twins)

While having the most intriguing story ever, you can find this winter constellation between winter and spring in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, look for it during the summer months where it will be upside down. Its brightest stars are Pollux and Castor, which are named after the twins of the queen of Sparta. Apparently, the two twins were from different fathers with Castor being the immortal son of the king of Sparta. Pollux, on the other hand, was the son of Zeus. Despite their differences, the two twins grew fond of each other with people referring to the Dioscuri. However, they had a feud with some other twins in a different land which resulted in the death of Castor. To reunite the two twins, Zeus sent his son, Pollux, to the skies to live with his twin brother.

Orion (the Hunter)

While you can see this constellation from spring to winter in the northern hemisphere, those in the southern hemisphere will see it during the summer months in an upside down position. Its brightest star is Rigel. The Greek named this constellation after a giant hunter whom Zeus sent to the stars upon death. Orion, the son of Poseidon, could walk on water. At a particular time, he walked on water to the Island of Chios and killed the daughter of the ruler of the island in a drunken stupor. In retaliation, the ruler blinded him. However, Helios healed him later. After this, he boasted that he would kill the entire creature on the earth to showcase his hunting skills. The earth’s goddess, Gaia, sent a scorpion to attack him to prevent him from killing the earth’s creatures. In the battle, the Scorpion ended up killing Orion. The ancient Greek refers to this constellation as Orion who is defending himself against the Taurus the bull constellation which is nearby.

With great appeals and breathtaking stories, these winter constellations have given star gazer in the northern hemisphere something to smile about during winter. You too can give yourself a reason to smile during next winter by looking at them.

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Summer Constellation

There are many misconceptions and myths about the constellations such as the story of the monsters and gods, tales of villains and heroes and many other stories about their legends. The universe consists of constellations that are very important on a daily basis. Summer constellations occur between eighteen hours and zero hours at the right of ascension. They are seventeen in number that falls in this constellation. The famous once are Aquarius, Sagittarius, Lyra and Cygnus.

Aquarius

Aquarius is typically referred to as the water breaker. This summer constellation has three primary messier objects; messier object two, Messier objects seventy-two, Messier object seventy-three. M-2 is about ten in diameter and is very bright. The objects are usually concentrated at the centre. M-72 is smaller than M-2 and is around 6-8 in diameter. It is moderately bright, and its concentration is at the centre. M-73 is typically referred to as the most disappointing object. It is y in shape and has four stars that are not gravitational to each other.

Cygnus

It is usually referred to as the swan. It has two mainly messier objects; M-39 and M-29. M-39 is very impressive open cluster when seen through binoculars. It is very bright and large that stand very well from the back ground. It is triangular, and the stars are not concentrated at the centre. M-29, when seen through the binoculars, is a diamond in shape and very small in size. It has a group of six to eight stars that are concentrated to each other in a nice field.

Sagittarius

It is usually referred to as Archer. It generally occurs in the month of June, August, and early September. It is known as “tea pot” because of its shape in stars according to the modern observers. It is seen in the dark because the stars are relative. Observers from the southern hemisphere have a better view because it usually flies over head. It has five main messier objects; M-8, m-20, M-17, M-22 and M-24.

M-8 is one of the finest open clusters in the combinations at the sky because it is scattered, large and lies on the edge of swirling large clouds. It can be seen by the binoculars and also through the naked eyes. M-20 is moderate in size and rather faintly when observed through a telescope. The stars are surrounded by a path light nearly one centimetre apart from each other. This type of messier object can be seen clearly in the north.

M-17 is usually referred to as omega and most favourite list in the Sagittarius to many observers. The stars generally form a curving arc that is connected to a straight path.  Photographs can only the smaller region of the large part. M-22 can be seen clearly in the northern latitudes; it is about 15-20 centimetres in diameter. The stars are loosely gathered and are second to omega because of its larger size and beauty. M-24 can be viewed easily by binoculars and consists of many countless stars that are connected by a dark path.

Lyra

Lyra is sometimes referred to as the harp because the observers using binoculars usually enjoy. It has two primary messier objects; M-57 and M-56. M-57 is the popular Lyra to many modern observers because of its ring shape. It is very bright that it can be seen in light and air polluted areas. M-56 is moderately bright and about 5 centimetres in diameter.  The stars are concentrated at the center. When seen through binoculars it is usually small in size. The other type of Lyra is the delta Lyra which is a double star, easy to split and very wide.

Other types of summer constellations are Aquila which is referred to as the eagle, Capricornus the sea goat, the Cepheus king of Ethiopia, Sagitta the Arrow, Scutum the shield, Vulpecula the little folks, Pegasus the flying horse, Delphinus, the dolphin. All these types of summer constellations are different in size and can be viewed differently in telescopes. They appear differently during the month of summer.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, summer constellations are fascinating pieces of work. One only need to go outside on a clear night and observe the sky and study them. They are interpreted differently, and many people name them differently. Summer constellation can be studied carefully using the summer triangle. Many cultures understand the anthropology and history differently from other cultures. They use the constellations to explore the astronomy and weather forecast. In the modern days, it is hard to view the summer constellations using the naked eyes because of light and air pollution.

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The Top 10 Biggest Constellations

As a navigation tool and a spiritual guide in the ancient times, the constellations are a reminder that the night sky and stars are the big sources of knowledge and mysteries. Every one of the constellations has its special meaning, shape, visibility, stars within them that are highly important, place in the universe and a beautiful folklore story behind them. Use your eyes and observe the night sky to find the mysterious and unique beauty of the constellations and the stars within them. How to find them in the sky? Which are the biggest constellations?

What are constellations?

For constellations to be described simply, you should know that they are a group of particular stars together in one place as patterns of imagination on the celestial sphere. In Latin, the word for constellation has the meaning of a ‘’group of stars’’.

They always have a special spiritual explanation behind them. Many of them through history represented kinds of animals, a mythological creature, a mythological person or gods. Today, the real purpose of the constellations is discovered, they help people to find about stars and how to differentiate them.

Really dark and highly clear sky can give you the chance to see from 1500 to 2000 different stars. That many stars in one place are hard to difference. Because of that, the constellations allow you to differentiate the stars better by breaking manageable bits of the stars up in the sky. Giving you a star atlas of the sky with grouping the stars by its belonging

Aside from the clear and dark sky, different constellations can be seen in different parts of the year, different seasons and months, and some of them can be seen only on a specific hemisphere of the Earth.

 

The top 10 biggest constellations

 

Astronomers spent many years researching the sky, the stars, and their grouping into constellations, finding and ranking the constellations that are the biggest. Every one of the constellations has a name based on the form on the sky their form.

The top 10 biggest constellations are:

  • The Hydra, also known as The Sea Serpent. Not only this constellation is the biggest but also is the largest in the sky space.
  • The Virgo, or known as The Virgin.
  • The Ursa Major, known as The Great Bear. Highly popular and known among people, its name comes from the fact that the shape on the sky formed by this constellation looks like a bear.
  • Cetus, also known as The Whale or as The Sea Monster. Forming a whale shape in the sky gave the name of this constellation.
  • The Hercules constellation, fifth in ranking and known as The Hero Hercules. This name comes from the shape in the sky like a warrior that holds a sword in the hand, looking like the mythological half god Hercules.
  • Eridanus also known as The River Eridanus. The stars in these constellations, one by one in a line, are forming a shape as the river Eridanus.
  • Pegasus or The Winged Horse. The amazing and breathtaking constellation that got its name from the fact that the stars in the constellations form a beautiful winged horse.
  • The Draco or known as The Dragon. The stars contained in this constellation form a huge dragon on the sky.
  • The Centaurus, also known by its other name The Centaur. This constellation forms a mythological creature in the sky, half person, and half a horse.
  • And the tenth constellation based by its bigness is Aquarius known as The Water Bearer. Similar as The Centaur, this constellation also gives a mythological form on the sky, creating an Aquarius.

 

How to find constellations in the sky?

Knowing the names and placement of the constellations on the sky and the specific shapes they form on the sky, you can use the clear and dark sky to explore their beauties.

For better assistance, you should try and use a sky map. The map will help you to look for constellations in the right direction and specific time of the year suitable for a particular constellation.

You can see constellations better far from the city, where the sky is clearer. Also, darker sky helps too. If you want detailed experience, try using a telescope or maybe binoculars to see the features of the constellations better.

Trying to find easier the constellation you are interested in, try to orient yourself towards the North Star. With finding the North Star you will be able to find every constellation on the sky faster.

Which constellations you will be able to see depends on the season, time of the year, month, and your location. Using your sky map, learning about the shape and location of the constellations would definitely help you with your night sky exploring of the stars and their beauty.

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