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Constellations of the Night Sky: Famous Star Patterns Explained (Images)

Northern Hemisphere Constellations
This NASA graphic offers an introduction to the constellations visible in the Northern Hemisphere. (Image credit: NASA)

Aquarius, the Water Bearer

Stellarium

Aquarius, the "water bearer," is a large but faint constellation in the southern sky. [See our reference page about the constellation of Aquarius.]

Aries, the Ram

Till Credner, allthesky.com

Aries, the "ram," is a mid-size constellation in the Northern Hemisphere. [See our reference page about the constellation of Aries.]

Cancer, the Crab

Starry Night Software

The small faint constellation Cancer, the "crab," is rich in open clusters and double stars. [See our reference page about the constellation of Cancer.]

Capricornus, the Sea Goat

Starry Night Software

This sky map shows the location of the constellation Capricornus, the "sea goat." [See our reference page about the constellation of Capricornus.]

Draco, the Dragon

The eighth-largest constellation, Draco, the "dragon," doesn't appear especially prominent. [See our reference page about the constellation of Draco.]

Gemini, the Twins

Starry Night Software

Gemini, the "twins," is a constellation high in the winter sky, containing a number of interesting observing targets. [See our reference page about the constellation of Gemini.]

Leo, the Lion

Starry Night Software

This sky chart shows constellation Leo, the "lion," and its trademark sickle. [See our reference page about the constellation of Leo.]

Libra, the Scales

Stellarium

The stars that make up the constellation Libra, the "scales," were once considered part of Scorpius. [See our reference page about the constellation of Libra.]

Ophiuchus, the Snake Bearer

Starry Night Software

Ophiuchus, the "snake bearer," is a little-known but important constellation, which graces our evening skies in the summer. [See our reference page about the constellation of Ophiuchus.]

Orion, the Hunter

Starry Night Software

Orion, the "hunter," as imagined, with the stars that make it. [See our reference page about the constellation of Orion.]

Pegasus, the Winged Horse

Akira Fujii / HubbleSite.org

Pegasus, named after the winged white horse of Poseidon in Greek mythology, is easy to find when you spot the Great Square. [See our reference page about the constellation of Pegasus.]

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