My idea here is to present pictures of the major constellations and say something of their mythological origins. With each picture will be a mouseover (which will appear if you move your mouse pointer over the image) on which will be marked the names and the Bayer designations of the principal stars. Bayer designations consist of Greek Letters generally, but not always, in order of brightness. Stars do not always have names, but also many do not have Bayer designations either. If I want to include a star without a Bayer designation, then I will show its Flamsteed number. If I want to show a star which is not part of the constellation then I will only show either its name, if it is a well-known star, or its Bayer or Flamsteed designation.
I find constellations much more difficult to identify than they appear to be on star maps. I have resisted the temptation to include lines joining the main stars as these can be found on any star map or in any planetarium program. My pictures show the stars more or less as they appear in the sky. (Intensity may be misleading as the computer cannot display the full range of intensities seen by the camera and I have had to compress them in order to show the fainter stars.) I will try to indicate the locations of interesting objects but, if these are not resolved, I will indicate their approximate locations with dotted arrows.
I live in a very light-polluted area and I am aware that my pictures are not as clear as I would like them to be. I will continue to experiment with ways to enhance them and replace them as I find better pictures. Depending on your monitor, the fainter stars may be very difficult to see. I am starting this project in January 2009 and I want to add constellations as quickly as possible. This may mean that in some pictures they are oddly orientated, or I may have to rotate the picture to get the orientation I want resulting in a sloping background or odd-looking light pollution. As the years go by I will try to get better pictures and replace the originals.
I shall also describe briefly anything of astronomical interest in the constellation. I am pleased to acknowledge Philip's Atlas of the Universe by Sir Patrick Moore (Philips 2007) as the primary source of this information. I am also happy to acknowledge The Penguin Book of Classical Myths by Jenny March (The Penguin Group, 2008) as the prime source of the mythological information.
Click on the thumbnail to go to the full page.
|The Milkyway. Not really a constellation, but the Milkyway is a feature of the night sky so it seems to
fit naturally on this page. It is our view of the galaxy in which we live. It is a faint object spread across
the sky and most people who live in developped countries will never have seen it because of light
pollution. However it is sometimes possible to bring it out in photographs. This page is one example.
|Orion. The great hunter.||Ursa Major. The great bear.|
|Ursa Minor. The little bear.||Cassiopeia. The mother of Andromeda.|
|Taurus. The bull.||Boötes. The herdsman.|
|Leo. The lion.||Gemini. The twins.|
|Draco. The dragon||Lyra. The lyre.|
|Hercules. The great hero.||Corona Borealis.
The northern crown.
|Cygnus. The swan.||Cepheus.
King of the Ethiopians.
|Andromeda. The Princess,
daughter of Cepheus.
|Triangulum. The triangle.|
|Pegasus. The winged horse.||Perseus. The gallant hero.|
|Auriga. The charioteer.||Pisces. The fishes.|
|Coma Berenices. Berenices' Hair.||Virgo. The Virgin|
|Canes Venatici. The Hunting Dogs.||Camelopardalis. The Giraffe.|
|Vulpecula, Sagitta, Dolphinus, and Equuleus.
The Fox, the Arrow, the Dolphin, and the Foal.
|Monoceros, the Unicorn|
|Lynx, the Lynx.||Aries, the Ram.|
Back to This and That Home