Constellations

Draco

Draco

Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543). Photo © Scott Rosen. Draco, the Dragon, is a sprawling circumpolar constellation that wraps around the Little Dipper. The Dragon’s head is a small group of four stars...

Canes Venatici

Canes Venatici

Canes Venatici is a small constellation, consisting of only two stars. However, it is quite easy to find due to its location just south of the Big Dipper. Like many of the surrounding...

Ursa Major

Ursa Major

Ursa Major, the Great Bear, is a large constellation in the northern circumpolar region of the sky. Ursa Major is known best for the Big Dipper, which makes up the northeastern part of the...

Monoceros

Monoceros

Monoceros the Unicorn is one of the most overlooked winter constellations. This is probably because the constellation is sprawling and faint, without an eye-catching shape. Fortunately, Monoceros is...

The Big Dipper

The Big Dipper

Most people who can pick out at least two constellations in the night sky can point out the Big Dipper. As it turns out, the Big Dipper is not a constellation. It’s an asterism within the...

Auriga

Auriga

IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula, is an emission/reflection nebula in Auriga. While beautiful in photographs, it is quite faint and difficult to visually observe. Photo © Shaphan Shank. Auriga is not...

A Fiery Ball

A Fiery Ball

In August, Dad decided to take the family to Cherry Springs Park in Pennsylvania, which has the darkest night sky east of the Mississippi River. We ventured out with food, binoculars, tents, our...

Cygnus

Cygnus

Cygnus, the Swan, is one of the best-known constellations of late summer and fall. This constellation lies high overhead after dark at mid-northern latitudes during October, although it has already...

Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula

Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula

The Summer Triangle, a large triangle of bright stars (Deneb, Vega, and Altair), lies straight overhead on September evenings in the United States. Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula all lie in or...

Western Hydra

Western Hydra

Hydra represented a water snake to the ancient Greeks. Like a snake, this constellation is long, narrow, and squiggly. Hydra is the largest constellation in the sky, its form stretching about 75°...

Sequoias, Sentinel, and Stars

Sequoias, Sentinel, and Stars

A Mariposa Grove shuttle bus unhurriedly wound its way up the wooded hillside from Yosemite National Park’s southern gate to the famed Mariposa Grove. It paused for a minute to let us and at least...