Earth and the Moon

The Night Sky

How many constellations are there?

The current, internationally agreed-upon map of the sky contains eighty-eight constellations. Some well-known constellations are Aquila (the Eagle), Cygnus (the Swan), Lyra (the Harp), Hercules and Perseus (two mythological heroes), Orion the Hunter and Ophiuchus the Knowledge-seeker (two other mythological characters), Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (the Big Bear and the Little Bear), and the constellations of the zodiac. The table below lists well-known constellations.

Name Common Name Well-Known Stars in the Constellation
Aquila The Eagle Altair
Auriga The Charioteer Capella
Bootes The Hunter Arcturus
Canis Major The Big Dog Sirius
Canis Minor The Little Dog Procyon
Carina The Keel Canopus
Crux The Southern Cross Acrux
Cygnus The Swan Deneb
Gemini The Twins Castor, Pollux
Leo The Lion Regulus
Lyra The Harp Vega
Orion The Hunter Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix
Ursa Major The Big Bear Dubhe, Alcor, Mizar
Ursa Minor The Little Bear Polaris (The North Star)


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