Constellations

Gemini

Gemini

View the full issue in the Magazine Archive M35 and NGC 2158. Photo © Scott Rosen. Gemini, the twins, lies northeast of Orion along the band of the Milky Way. The most obvious part of Gemini is the...

Orion

Orion

Horsehead Nebula. Photo © Kevin & Adrian Shank. Orion, the Hunter, is one of the most well-known constellations in the night sky. Most of its popularity comes from the fact that it is made up...

Perseus

Perseus

Double Cluster, NGC 869 & NGC 884. Photo © Boris Stromar|Dreamstime.com. To the ancient Greeks, the stars of Perseus represented a hero. To me, this constellation bears little resemblance to a...

Andromeda

Andromeda

Andromeda Galaxy, M31. Photo © Shaphan Shank. Andromeda is one of those ideal constellations that is easy to find, and that contains a wide variety of outstanding telescopic targets. The main part...

Lacerta

Lacerta

Lacerta, the Lizard, is a small and little-known constellation that lies along the band of the Milky Way right between the constellations Cygnus and Cassiopeia. Although its stars are all rather...

Aquarius

Aquarius

Helix Nebula, NGC 7293. Photo © Allexxandar/Dreamstime.com. Aquarius is a sprawling constellation that stretches across nearly 40° of the southern sky on autumn evenings. This constellation lies...

Aquila

Aquila

Aquila, the Eagle, is a mid-sized constellation that lies right along the summer Milky Way just south of the zenith on September evenings in the mid-northern latitudes. Altair, the brightest star of...

Hercules

Hercules

M13. Photo © Reinhold Wittich/Dreamstime.com. Hercules, the Strongman, is a large constellation that lies straight east of Bootes, the constellation we focused on last month. If you imagine a line...

Bootes

Bootes

M3. Photo © Reinhold Wittich/Dreamstime.com. Bootes lies nearly straight overhead on June evenings in the Northern Hemisphere. This constellation is relatively easy to find, not only because of its...

Oatmeal-Box Planetarium

Oatmeal-Box Planetarium

Cylindrical cardboard boxes, of the type at least one brand of oatmeal comes in, can be used for projecting beautiful images of star constellations on the wall or ceiling. Copy the constellation you...

Coma Berenices

Coma Berenices

M64 On May evenings, our planet is turned so that we are looking out the side of the Milky Way instead of looking edgewise through its arms. This orientation means that there are few star clusters...

Leo

Leo

View the April 2023 Nature Friend Study Guide Leo Triplet. Clockwise from left: NGC 3628, M65, M66. Photo © Shaphan Shank. Leo, the Lion, is high in the evening sky during April. Leo lies about 40°...

Canis Major

Canis Major

Canis Major, the Great Dog, lies in the southern sky just southeast of Orion. Like Orion, many of the stars that make up Canis Major are bright. The constellation’s brightest star, Sirius, is the...

Taurus

Taurus

The Pleiades. Photo © Shaphan Shank. Taurus, the Bull, is a distinctive constellation that lies just northwest of Orion, high in the evening sky in late winter. A V-shaped group of stars forms the...

Backyard Stargazing

Backyard Stargazing

Andromeda Galaxy. Photo © Shaphan Shank. “Good night, Dad and Mom,” I said as I strode to the door, clad in a winter coat, hat, and boots.“Good night,” they replied—Mom with a sigh, glad she wasn’t...