Astronomy Lesson 6

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Stars

Stars are formed initially from gas and dust. They are composed mainly of the hydrogen gas. They are very hot and give off huge amounts of energy in the form of heat and light. Our Sun is a medium sized star. Stars Are very far away from Earth. The closest Star is about 23.5 trillion miles away. Stars go through many stages in their lifetime. Some of the names for these stages are Red Giant, Planetary Nebulae, White Dwarf, Neutron and even Black Holes.

If you observe a planet, say Mars, for one complete revolution, you will see that it passes successively through 12 constellations. All planets (except Pluto at certain times) can be observed only in these 12 constellations, which form the so-called zodiac, and the Sun also moves through the zodiacal signs, though the Sun’s apparent movement is actually caused by the movement of Earth.

Although the constellations are due mainly to the optical accident of line of sight and have no real significance, astronomers have retained them as reference areas. It is much easier to speak of a star in Orion than to give its geometrical position in the sky. There are 88 recognized constellations.

The 88 Recognized Constellations

In astronomical works, the Latin names of the constellations are used. The letter N or S following the Latin name indicates whether the constellation is located to the north or south of the Zodiac. The letter Z indicates that the constellation is within the Zodiac.

Latin nameLetterEnglish version
AndromedaNAndromeda
AntliaSAirpump
ApusSBird of Paradise
AquariusZWater Bearer
AquilaNEagle
AraSAltar
AriesZRam
AurigaNCharioteer
Bo├ÂtesNHerdsmen
CaelumSSculptor’s Tool
CamelopardalisNGiraffe
CancerZCrab
Canes VenaticiNHunting Dogs
Canis MajorSGreat Dog
Canis MinorSLittle Dog
CapricornusZGoat (or SeaGoat)
CarinaSKeel (of Argo)1
CassiopeiaNCassiopeia
CentaurusSCentaur
CepheusNCepheus
CetusSWhale
ChameleonSChameleon
CircinusSCompasses
ColumbaSDove
Coma BerenicesNBerenice’s Hair
Corona AustralisSSouthern Crown
Corona BorealisNNorthern Crown
CorvusSCrow (Raven)
CraterSCup
CruxSSouthern Cross
CygnusNSwan
DelphinusNDolphin
DoradoSSwordfish (Goldfish)
DracoNDragon
EquuleusNFilly
EridanusSEridanus (river)
FornaxSFurnace
GeminiZTwins
GrusSCrane
HerculesNHercules
HorologiumSClock
HydraNSea Serpent
HydrusSWater Snake
IndusSIndian
LacertaNLizard
LeoZLion
Leo MinorNLittle Lion
LepusSHare
LibraZScales
LupusSWolf
LynxNLynx
LyraNLyre (Harp)
MensaSTable (mountain)
MicroscopiumSMicroscope
MonocerosSUnicorn
MuscaSSouthern Fly
NormaSRule (straightedge)
OctansSOctant
OphiuchusNSerpent-Bearer
OrionSOrion
PavoSPeacock
PegasusNPegasus
PerseusNPerseus
PhoenixSPhoenix
PictorSPainter (or his  Easel)
PiscesZFishes
Piscis AustrinusSSouthern Fish
PuppisSPoop (of Argo)1
PyxisSMariner’s Compass
ReticulumSNet
SagittaNArrow
SagittariusZArcher
ScorpiusZScorpion
SculptorSSculptor
ScutumNShield
SerpensNSerpent
SextansSSextant
TaurusZBull
TelescopiumSTelescope
TriangulumNTriangle
Triangulum AustraleSSouthern Triangle
TucanaSToucan
Ursa MajorNBig Dipper2
Ursa MinorNLittle Dipper3
VelaSSail (of Argo)1
VirgoZVirgin
VolansSFlying Fish
VulpeculaNFox

1. The original constellation Argo Navis (the Ship Argo) has been divided into Carina, Puppis, and Vela.

2. The Big Dipper is only a part of the constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear) and is not a constellation by itself.

3. The Little Dipper is called Ursa Minor (Little Bear).

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