Identify Constellations

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Each lab class will have a session to help you learn to identify constellations, bright stars, and the planets that are currently visible. It will help if you work on this with a star chart of your own, such as you might find in an astronomy book, or in one of these free resources:

Free star chart for anywhere at any time

Sky maps by the month

Tonight's sky including artficial satellites

Weekly guide and news

Beautiful Stellarium free planetarium software for your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. It is available as a paid application for Android devices too.

The free Google Sky Map for Android works well, and makes use of Android device's navigation to interact with your real sky.

iTunes also offers a Sky Map for iPhone and iPad for a fee.

If want to pursue this and learn the night sky well, you should consider getting a planisphere star finder if one was not already required for the lecture class. This is a rotating map of the sky that will show you how it appears on any date and time. We will provide star charts to help you in the lab. You may install the free Stellarium software to review the appearance of the sky at home.

Constellations seen from the Northern Hemisphere by Season


  • Aquila (Altair)
  • Corona Borealis
  • Cygnus (Deneb)
  • Draco
  • Hercules
  • Lyra (Vega)
  • Sagittarius
  • Scorpius (Antares)


  • Andromeda
  • Cepheus
  • Cassiopeia
  • Pegasus
  • Perseus (Algol)


  • Auriga (Capella)
  • Canis Major
  • Canis Minor (Procyon)
  • Gemini
  • Orion (Betelgeuse and Rigel)
  • Taurus (Aldebaran and the Pleiades)


  • Bootes (Arcturus)
  • Cancer
  • Leo (Regulus)
  • Virgo (Spica)
  • Ursa Major (pointer stars)
  • Ursa Minor (Polaris)