Spanel Planetarium


Philippe La Hire, Planisphere Celeste, 1705. click to enlarge
"Why did not somebody teach me the constellations, and make me at home in the starry heavens, which are always overhead, and which I don't half know to this day?"
~ Thomas Carlyle 1880  

The sky is divided into 88 parts called constellations. In a modern sense, the divisions are large regions on a map similar to countries or states. They are grouped into 8 distinct subgroups or families, with some overlapping. These groupings are based on mythological or other associating factors. You may find it helpful to learn your way across the sky based on these groups.

I. The Ursa Major Family
Ursa Major Ursa Minor Draco Canes Venatici Boötes Coma Berenices Camelopardalis Lynx
Leo Minor Corona Borealis

II. The Zodiac
Leo Virgo Libra Scorpius Sagittarius Capricornus Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer

III. The Perseus Family
Perseus Cassiopeia Cepheus Andromeda Pegasus Cetus Auriga Lacerta Triangulum

IV. The Hercules Family
Hercules Sagitta Aquila Lyra Cygnus Vulpecula Hydra Sextans Crater Corvus Ophiuchus Serpens Scutum Centaurus Lupus Corona Australis Ara Triangulum Australe Crux

V. The Orion Family
Orion Canis Major Canis Minor Monoceros Lepus

VI. The Heavenly Waters
Delphinus Equuleus Eridanus Pisces Austrinus Carina Puppis Vela Pyxis Columba

VII. The Bayer Group (named by Johann Bayer)
Hydrus Dorado Volans Apus Pavo Grus Phoenix Tucana Indus Chamaeleon Musca

VIII. The Lacaille Family (named by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille)
Norma Circinus Telescopium Microscopium Fornax Caelum Horologium Octans Mensa Reticulum Pictor Antlia

The alphabetical listing below is of 51 constellations observable from northern latitudes during the course of a year.

Aquarius, the water bearer
Aquila, the eagle
Aries, the ram
Auriga the charioteer
Boötes, the bear driver
Camelopardalis, the giraffe
Cancer, the crab
Canes Venatici, hunting dogs
Canis Major, larger dog
Canis Minor, smaller dog
Capricornus, sea goat
Cepheus, Cepheus
Cetus, the whale
Coma Berenices, Berenices' hair
Corona Borealis, northern crown
Corvus, the crow
Crater, the cup
Cygnus, the swan
Delphinus, the dolphin
Draco, the dragon
Equuleus, the little horse
Eridanus, the river
Gemini, the twins
Hydra, the sea serpent
Lacerta, the lizard
Leo, the lion
Leo Minor, the small lion
Libra, the scales
Lyra, the lyre
Monoceros, the unicorn
Ophiuchus, serpent holder
Pegasus, the winged horse
Pisces, the fishes
Puppis, the ship's stern
Sagitta, the arrow
Sagittarius, the archer
Scorpius, the scorpion
Scutum, the shield
Serpens, the snake
Taurus, the bull
Triangulum, the triangle
Ursa Major, the large bear
Ursa Minor, the small bear
Virgo, the maiden
Vulpecula, the fox
Some of the constellations listed above are near the equator and thus visible from both north and south latitudes. The listing below is the 36 constellations observable only from southern latitudes during the course of a year.

Antlia, the air pump
Apus, bird of paradise
Ara, the altar
Caelum, the sculptor's chisel
Carina, the keel
Centaurus, the centaur
Chamaeleon, the chameleon
Circinus, the compasses
Columba, the dove
Corona Austrina, the southern crown
Crux, the cross
Dorado, the swordfish
Fornax, the laboratory furnace
Grus, the crane
Horologium, the clock
Hydrus, the water snake
Indus, the american indian
Lupus, the wolf
Mensa, table mountain
Microscopium, the microscope
Musca, the fly
Norma, the carpenter's square
Octans, the octant
Pavo, peacock
Pictor, the painter's easle
Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish
Pyxis, the compass box
Reticulum, the net
Sculptor, the sculptor's workshop
Sextans, the sextant
Telescopium, the telescope
Triangulum Australe, the southern triangle
Tucana, the toucan
Vela, the sails
Volans, the flying fish

And Andromeda
Ant Antlia
Aps Apus
Aqr Aquarius
Aql Aquila
Ara Ara
Ari Aries
Aur Auriga
Boo Boötes
Cae Caelum
Cam Camelopardalis
Cnc Cancer
CVn Canes Venatici
CMa Canis Major
CMi Canis Minor
Cap Capricornus
Car Carina
Cas Cassiopeia
Cen Centaurus
Cep Cepheus
Cet Cetus
Cha Chamaeleon
Cir Circinus
Col Columba
Com Coma Berenices
CrA Corona Austrina
CrB Corona Borealis
Crv Corvus
Crt Crater
Cru Crux
Cyg Cygnus
Del Delphinus
Dor Dorado
Dra Draco
Equ Equuleus
Eri Eridanus
For Fornax
Gem Gemini
Gru Grus
Her Hercules
Hor Horologium
Hya Hydra
Hyi Hydrus
Ind Indus
Lac Lacerta
Leo Leo
LMi Leo Minor
Lep Lepus
Lib Libra
Lup Lupus
Lyn Lynx
Lyr Lyra
Men Mensa
Mic Microscopium
Mon Monoceros
Mus Musca
Nor Norma
Oct Octans
Oph Ophiuchus
Ori Orion
Pav Pavo
Peg Pegasus
Per Perseus
Phe Phoenix
Pic Pictor
Psc Pisces
PsA Piscis Austrinus
Pup Puppis
Pyx Pyxis
Ret Reticulum
Sge Sagitta
Sgr Sagittarius
Sco Scorpius
Scl Sculptor
Sct Scutum
Ser Serpens
Sex Sextans
Tau Taurus
Tel Telescopium
Tri Triangulum
TrA Triangulum Australe
Tuc Tucana
UMa Ursa Major
UMi Ursa Minor
Vel Vela
Vir Virgo
Vol Volans
Vul Vulpecula