The term “constellation” has changed its meaning at different times. At present, it is customary to call constellation areas that include certain areas of the celestial sphere.
Astronomy is a science rooted in the distant past. In ancient times, people were actively interested in her, mainly travelers, for them orientation by the stars was a necessity. Scientists of the ancient world were also engaged in the study of the starry sky, but their knowledge was not as deep as that of modern specialists, the body of knowledge of those times can hardly be called a science, the definition would rather fit – the knowledge of the world.
People who lived in those days looked at the night sky and mentally connected the stars with lines, the resulting imaginary figures were called by different names. The set of stars was customarily called constellations. The developed system was complex and imperfect due to a lack of organization. Confusion often arose, it happened due to the fact that sometimes certain stars entered several constellations, while other celestial elements were left unattended, they were often forgotten. In addition, in ancient times it was difficult to store and organize the known information.
It was only in 1922 that a unified system was developed. The International Astronomical Union decided to conditionally divide the sky into separate areas. The Union has approved the constellations in the amount of 88 pieces. In Russia, only 54 are viewed. Below is a list of the 10 most famous of them. In the article, we present the most famous constellations in the sky.
Dragon is one of the largest constellations. Its scale can amaze anyone, the area is 1083 sq. degrees. The constellation is located in the Northern Hemisphere in the area between the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, unfortunately, it is very problematic to consider it.
The stars that are part of the Dragon do not differ in brightness, their light is weak and dim, the number exceeding 6m (brightness value) is 80.
You can find it in the starry sky in the Ursa Major zone. A drawn curved line ending in a quadrangle is the head of the Dragon, the body is located a little further. The Dragon is best seen during the summer and autumn periods from May to December.
The story of the appearance is told in myths and legends, one of the popular versions of the appearance: a wild and ferocious monster wanted to fight the Olympic gods. The goddess Athena did not forgive him and threw him into the sky, where he decided to stay.
The habitat of Cepheus is the region of the Northern Hemisphere. The area is 588 square degrees. For those wishing to admire the beauty, 148 elements are available. The constellation is located in the shape of an irregular pentagon, there is Ursa Minor nearby, along which it can be easily found.
As part of Cepheus, there are no stars with a bright, saturated glow, while the constellation is perfectly visible throughout the year on the territory of the Russian Federation.
The fame was obtained thanks to the calculations of scientists, they claim that in the future the north pole will move to the constellation, this will be in one thousand years.
Centaurus is a large constellation in area, located on an area equal to 1060 square degrees, it includes a huge number of stars. Its viewing is not available to the population of the Northern Hemisphere, residents will not be able to enjoy the magnificent view.
The constellation is located in the Southern Hemisphere, the landmark is a flat straight line from the Big Dipper to Virgo. On the territory of the Russian Federation, you can use the secret of viewing: the closer to the South the constellation is located, the better it is seen. The residents of the Russian Federation do not have the opportunity to fully appreciate it, this is due to the size and location.
The name Centaurus was not invented by chance, the prototype was the heroes of Greek myths – the centaurs. The most popular legend has it that the centaur that entered the sky is an immortal intelligent centaur named Chiron. The name is often used in films and books.
Virgo is the second largest, with an area of 1294 square degrees. The location is the equator, the area between Leo and Libra. The fame is due to the fact that the point of the autumnal equinox is located here.
In ancient atlases, the constellation is depicted as a young girl holding a small spike of wheat in her hands. It is difficult for modern people to see such a picture in the sky, for this you need to have great imagination and extraordinary thinking.
The reference point for the search is the star of the first magnitude Spica, it is one of the brightest among the stars, it is in sixteenth place. The total number of stars that make up Virgo is 171.
The history of occurrence is described in myths, one of the legends says that this is the goddess of justice – Dika, who left the Earth because of grievances against people, now she feels good in heaven, she chose the element of justice – Libra as her neighbor.
Hydra – is in the first place in length, the area is 1300 square degrees. Location – Southern Hemisphere.
In Russia, the constellation can be admired at the end of winter and early spring. Only residents of the cities of the southern part will be able to appreciate it in all its glory. With the naked eye, without using telescopes, binoculars can see 229 stars. They do not possess strong, saturated brightness.
The composition includes a huge number of famous stars, including: Alpha Hydra, Xi Hydra, Gamma and a large number of small, open clusters.
The prototype is the Water Serpent, thrown by the angry Apollo. Another version says that Hydra is the worst enemy of Hercules, over whom he won an undeniable victory thanks to his cunning and ingenuity.
Cassiopeia – located in the Northern Hemisphere, thanks to this position, residents of mid-latitudes have the opportunity to admire the cluster of stars throughout the year, it is best seen in the autumn. The constellation resembles the English W, with an area of 598 square degrees. 90 stars are clearly visible, the largest and brightest in the composition of 5.
The name was obtained thanks to the wife of King Kefei. In addition, Cassiopeia is the mother of Andromeda. She was very boastful, for which she was punished. The punishment was that the queen was tied to a throne revolving around the pole. Once a day, Cassiopeia was upside down, her head down.
Pegasus is a large constellation located in the Northern Hemisphere with an area of 1120.8 square degrees. 166 stars are perfectly visible without the use of specialized devices. The most optimal time for observation is the end of summer and the end of the autumn period.
Pegasus is a large square with small inclusions that closely resemble tentacles. For people with a good imagination, the horse will appear in all its glory.
Legend has it that the drops of blood from the decapitated Medusa Gorgon became a horse. In the myths of ancient Greece, Pegasus is a horse with wings that can fly in the clouds.
Hercules – located in the Southern Hemisphere. Its area is 1225 square degrees. This cluster of stars is recognizable, when you look at it, you can clearly see all the elements. Living in the Russian Federation can fully see it, it is better to view it in June. The trapezium is the torso, it is clearly visible.
Initially, the constellation was given the name – Kneeling. Arat – a famous ancient poet described in his writings the constellation as a suffering husband. The causes of suffering are not mentioned anywhere, and there is no source of information on this matter.
Only in the 5th century BC, the previous name was changed to the name – Hercules. Later it was once again transformed into – Hercules.
2. Big Dipper
Perhaps the Big Dipper can rightfully be called the most famous constellation in the sky. Its location is the Northern Hemisphere. Everyone tried to find the famous Bucket and always found it. The area is 1280 square degrees. It ranks third in size. Without instruments, you can see the 125 stars that make up the composition.
It is often called asterism (a well-visible stellar group), Big Dipper and other less common names.
The history of appearance is described in detail in ancient Greek myths. The most popular version says: Zeus decided to save the magnificent nymph Callisto, who was angry with the goddess Hera. To save the beauty, Zeus turned her into a Bear.
1. Ursa Minor
Ursa Minor is perhaps the most famous constellation in the sky. It is a circumpolar constellation, its location is in the Northern Hemisphere. It is not difficult to find the constellation; this can be done by focusing on the Ursa Major. They are neighbors that can be admired all year round. Currently, the North Pole of the world is located here. This group of stars also has other well-known names, including: Small Bucket, Guardians of the Pole.
If we turn to myths, it turns out that Ursa Minor is the dog of the magnificent nymph Calypso. The nymph and the dog were transformed by the formidable Zeus and thrown into the sky. This allowed them to gain eternal life, now they look at our planet from above.