The 88 Constellations
Name Ancient/Modern North/South Bright/Dim
And Andromeda* Ancient Nothern Bright
Ant Antlia Modern Southern Dim
Aps Apus Modern Southern Dim
Aqr Aquarius Ancient Zodiacal Dim
Aql Aquila* Ancient Nothern Bright
Ara Ara Ancient Southern Dim
Ari Aries Ancient Zodiacal Dim
Aur Auriga* Ancient Nothern Bright
Boo Boötes* Ancient Nothern Bright
Cae Caelum Modern Southern Dim
Cam Camelopardalis Modern Nothern Dim
Cnc Cancer Ancient Zodiacal Dim
CVn Canes Venatici Modern Nothern Dim
CMa Canis Major* Ancient Southern Bright
CMi Canis Minor* Ancient Nothern Bright
Cap Capricornus Ancient Zodiacal Dim
Car Carina Modern Southern Dim
Cas Cassiopeia* Ancient Nothern Bright
Cen Centaurus Ancient Southern Bright
Cep Cepheus* Ancient Nothern Dim
Cet Cetus Ancient Southern Dim
Cha Chamaeleon Modern Southern Dim
Cir Circinus Modern Southern Dim
Col Columba Modern Southern Dim
Com Coma Berenices Modern Nothern Dim
CrA Corona Austrina Ancient Southern Dim
CrB Corona Borealis* Ancient Nothern Bright
Crv Corvus Ancient Southern Dim
Crt Crater Ancient Southern Dim
Cru Crux Modern Southern Bright
Cyg Cygnus* Ancient Nothern Bright
Del Delphinus Ancient Nothern Dim
Dor Dorado Modern Southern Dim
Dra Draco* Ancient Nothern Dim
Equ Equuleus Ancient Nothern Dim
Eri Eridanus Ancient Southern Dim
For Fornax Modern Southern Dim
Gem Gemini* Ancient Zodiacal Bright
Gru Grus Modern Southern Dim
Her Hercules Ancient Nothern Bright
Hor Horologium Modern Southern Dim
Hya Hydra Ancient Southern Dim
Hyi Hydrus Modern Southern Dim
Ind Indus Modern Southern Dim
Lac Lacerta Modern Nothern Dim
Leo Leo* Ancient Zodiacal Bright
LMi Leo Minor Modern Nothern Dim
Lep Lepus Ancient Nothern Dim
Lib Libra Ancient Zodiacal Dim
Lup Lupus Ancient Southern Dim
Lyn Lynx Modern Nothern Dim
Lyr Lyra Ancient Nothern Bright
Men Mensa Modern Southern Dim
Mic Microscopium Modern Southern Dim
Mon Monoceros Modern Nothern Dim
Mus Musca Modern Southern Dim
Nor Norma Modern Southern Dim
Oct Octans Modern Southern Dim
Oph Ophiuchus Ancient Nothern Dim
Ori Orion* Ancient Nothern Bright
Pav Pavo Modern Southern Dim
Peg Pegasus* Ancient Nothern Bright
Per Perseus* Ancient Nothern Bright
Phe Phoenix Modern Southern Dim
Pic Pictor Modern Southern Dim
Psc Pisces Ancient Zodiacal Dim
PsA Piscis Austrinus Ancient Southern Bright
Pup Puppis Modern Southern Dim
Pyx Pyxis Modern Southern Dim
Ret Reticulum Modern Southern Dim
Sge Sagitta Ancient Nothern Dim
Sgr Sagittarius* Ancient Zodiacal Bright
Sco Scorpius* Ancient Zodiacal Bright
Scl Sculptor Modern Southern Dim
Sct Scutum Modern Nothern Dim
Ser Serpens Ancient Nothern Dim
Sex Sextans Modern Southern Dim
Tau Taurus* Ancient Zodiacal Bright
Tel Telescopium Modern Southern Dim
Tri Triangulum Ancient Nothern Dim
TrA Triangulum Australe Modern Southern Dim
Tuc Tucana Modern Southern Dim
UMa Ursa Major* Ancient Nothern Bright
UMi Ursa Minor* Ancient Nothern Dim
Vel Vela Modern Southern Dim
Vir Virgo* Ancient Zodiacal Bright
Vol Volans Modern Southern Dim
Vul Vulpecula Modern Nothern Dim

This list comes from Chris Dolan’s pages on the constellations at constellations/ constellations.html. The links on this page all go to his site where there is plenty of useful information about each constellation.

The constellations marked with an asterisk (a ‘star’: *) are constellations you should memorize. These constellations will be the ones to look for on observation assignments.

I have described each constellation by saying whether it is Ancient or Modern; Northern, Southern, or Zodiacal; and by whether it has any bright stars or not. The Modern constellations tend to be ones not easily found with the naked eye and were invented in order that every square degree of sky be covered with constellations. The Ancient constellations are those included by the astronomer Ptolemy in his famous book, the Almagest in 150 A.D. The Southern constellations are the ones which, in my opinion, are either difficult or impossible to see from northern mid-latitude locations such as Southern Maine. Northern and Zodiacal constellations can all be seen from southern Maine (at varying times of year). Zodiacal constellations, of course, are the constellations of the zodiac and mark the path of the Sun during the course of a year. Constellations labeled Bright contain one or more stars that are easy to locate. The ones labeled Dim are much harder to find as they contain no bright stars. My criteria here are vague and based partly on experience and partly on a quick survey of star maps. Notice that the Ancient constellations tend to coincide with the Bright constellations. Why, do you suppose, that might be?

Last updated: Feb 07, 2008       Home
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