Computers and Technology

The Ultimate Constellation Guide for Beginners

If you’re a natural night owl and you’re looking for a new hobby, star gazing could be the answer. Humans have been charting the stars for thousands and thousands of years, looking for stories in the heavens.

Getting started is easy. You don’t need very many supplies, and you can go anywhere without much light pollution to look up and find star patterns. Use our constellation guide to help you learn the basics.

What Is Astronomy?

If you’re not into science, don’t let the astronomy definition deter you: a branch of natural science having to do with the celestial bodies. Studying the planets, galaxies, nebulae, and space can involve a lot of math and physics but it doesn’t have to.

You can also dabble in astronomy, meaning you look at the stars and find constellations for fun.

Basic Constellation Guide: Seasonal

Constellations follow the seasons. The stars are always there, of course, but as the earth rotates, you may not be able to see them.

Look for these constellations from December to May:

  • Orion–the hunter
  • Taurus–the bull
  • Gemini–the twins

Orion has three bright stars in a row, forming the hunter’s belt. From there you can find the hunter’s arms and legs.

Taurus has a deep V shape in the center of the constellation, formed with five stars close together. This represents the bull’s head, and above, extending the V, are two more stars that represent the points of the horns. You’ll also find more stars below, forming the bull’s front legs.

Gemini looks like two stick-figure twins reaching up. The left twin has its leg extended. Find their heads, and then follow the stars down forming their bodies and eventually a U shape.

Basic Constellation Guide: All Year

Some constellations are visible no matter when you’re star gazing. Look for these constellations all year round:

  • Big Dipper (Ursa Major)
  • Little Dipper (Ursa Minor)

If you’re mastering astronomy, you need to be able to locate the dipper constellations. The Big Dipper looks like a ladle, and it’s part of a larger star pattern in the shape of a bear.

The Little Dipper also looks like a ladle, but it’s smaller and its handle is more curved. This constellation represents a baby bear. It’s also famous for containing the North Star, or Polaris, at the end of the bear’s tail.

The Right Tools

Star gazing is even better when you can see clearly. Using a telescope to help you find constellations and see them closer can make the whole experience even more stunning.

If you’re just getting started with your new hobby, finding a good telescope that doesn’t cost a lot is key. Check out this page for the best telescope under 500. You can spend many hours enjoying the night sky without spending a lot of money.

You’ll also want a nice camping chair that is comfortable, or a soft blanket to lay on. Take it to a state park or forest reserve where there isn’t a lot of light pollution for the best results.

Looking Up

Using the constellation guide above, you can spend hours searching for star patterns and exploring the night sky. No matter the season, this hobby can be fulfilling. Once you’ve mastered the basics, look for other constellations like Leo, Cassiopeia, Scorpius, and Cygnus.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out the rest of our website for more information!

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