Astronomy

Constellations

Have you ever tried to gaze at the stars and nothing happened? It is important to know that stars (for example, the sun) appear from the east and move towards the west. This happens because of the rotation of the earth, meaning that depending on your geographical location, some stars will appear and some will not. For example, if you are in the south of Australia, the Southern Cross is particularly visible.

It is known that constellations are numerous. The most famous ones are the 12 zodiac constellations, which correspond to the 12 zodiac signs. All of these can be seen from every point on the planet, and they are spread in the whole of the sky. This explains why it is not possible to see the 12 constellations at the same time. Aries, for example, is made up of 4-5 stars that can be seen and they form a pattern that resembles the ram’s head and a part of its back. The name of the biggest star in this constellation is Hamal. Not all the constellations can be clearly seen at the same time of the year. For example, in December, Sagittarius can’t be seen because the sun is just in the middle of the way between the stars and our planet. Cancer, the constellation that resembles a crab, can be perfectly observed from the Southern Hemisphere in March, but it can also be seen from December to June. A similar process happens with the rest of the constellations. Let’s see some examples below.

Canis Major is a very popular constellation because of one of its constituents: Sirius, the star that can be best seen in the night sky. This constellation can be first seen when the summer is about to end. These stars form a kind of stick, with Sirius at its top and Adhara, another very famous star at its bottom. Cassiopeia is another constellation which most people can recognize. It resembles a “W”, and it mostly appears by the end of autumn and the beginning of winter.

Finally, Orion is the most popular and the biggest constellation in our sky. It can be seen from almost anywhere in the world, and it has appeared in many books read by people worldwide, just like the Eneid or even the Bible. This belt of stars is composed of three, Rigel, on the right, and Betelgeuse in the left being the most recognizable ones. Orion can be clearly seen during the Australian winter, but it is also visible throughout the rest of the year.

In addition to being able to watch fabulous constellations, people in the Southern Hemisphere can distinguish sky features as close galaxies (the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, for example), and globular clusters that take part in the Tucana or Centaurus constellations.

Now that you have all this valuable information and understand what constellations to watch and when, why don’t you wait for the night to come, and go somewhere comfortable to gaze at the stars? Make sure you keep your eyes open to watch all the wonders that the night sky can offer!

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