Looking up into the night sky is something that everyone has done at least once in their lifetime. We are amazed by the extent and the possibilities in the sky and beyond that the universe. Many have passed the evening trying to make pictures out of the stars. There are many constellations, some harder to spot than others. But, there are a few common ones that anyone with a tiny bit of direction will be able to spot. Next time you find yourself contemplating the stars search out these easy constellations and impress your friends.
The Big Dipper/The Great Bear
The Big Dipper is the most common constellation to look for. However, many may not know that it is only a tiny part of a larger image, The Great Bear or the official name of Ursa Major. Looking at the northern part of the sky, you will see the large cup and spoon. The cup created from four starts making a lopsided rectangle, and a three-star tale making the spoon. This is the top of the great bear. Below you will see the rest of its body and legs coming down below.
The Little Dipper
Once you have found The Big Dipper, spotting The Little Dipper is a breeze. It is essentially the exact same shape as the big dipper, just slightly smaller. With your eyes on The Big Dipper, look to the right and follow a line to the north. You will run right into Polaris. Another name for Polaris is the North Star, and it is hard to miss. It is the last star in the Little Dippers spoon. Follow it down, and you will see the little cup. If you have found the Little Dipper, you are right on top of Ursa Minor or the Lesser Bear.
Orion is easy to spot as well. Those living in the northern hemisphere need to look in the southwestern part of the sky, and those in the southern hemisphere need to look to the northwestern part of the sky. The first part of Orion to look for is the hunter’s belt. It consists of three bright stars in a straight line. From here, look for the hunter’s armpit, another large bright start. Next, follow the arm east, and you will run into the bow. From here, you can make out the rest of one of the most famous constellations, Orion.
Taurus is also referred to as The Bull. Finding The Bull is made easier if you have already located Orion. They are located in the same part of the sky. The Bull is right above Orion. Look above Orion for a large red star. The star is called Aldebaran and is placed at the fork of the bull’s horns. Once you have your center look to the left for the horn and to the right for the body.
Do more than stare at the night sky. Learn more about what we can find in the stars.