Hello dear readers of the Interessno.ru website. Throughout time, various civilizations and cultures have looked up into the night sky to see the constellations. Many of them are named after gods and goddesses, others are named after animals, etc. And although when we look at the starry sky, it seems to us that the stars in the constellations are located close to each other, this is not at all the case. In fact, they are at a great distance.
And today we decided to better acquaint you with the constellations. In this article, we have collected the most interesting facts about these astronomical sites.
The brightest constellation in the Southern Hemisphere is the Southern Cross, and in the Northern – Orion.
The smallest constellation is Crux (aka Southern Cross), its area is only 0.165% of the sky. As for the biggest, it is Hydra. Its area is 3.158% of the entire night sky (1303 square degrees). It was named after the Lernaean Hydra, a serpentine, multi-headed monster from ancient Greek mythology. Unfortunately, Hydra is visible only from certain points of our planet. In North America, it can only be seen from Alaska and Northern Canada. In Europe, it can only be seen in some Scandinavian countries such as Finland and Sweden.
A constellation is a part of the sky with certain boundaries, all stars and any objects within these boundaries are considered part of the constellation. Modern scientific language indicates that the stars that form the patterns are known as asterisms. They are usually in the same constellation and are named after the “pattern.” In addition to stars, it also includes nebulae and galaxies.
It should be noted, however, that asterism is not considered a true constellation. For example, Ursa Major is a very famous asterism, but its seven stars represent only half of the constellation Ursa Major.
Most of the constellations are seasonal, although some can be seen at certain times of the year.
For example, in the Northern Hemisphere, Orion appears in winter, Leo in spring, Scorpio in summer, and Pegasus in autumn.
There are also circumpolar ones, which are always visible in the sky.
In 1922, the sky was divided into 88 constellations, and this classification has survived to this day. 48 of them were recorded by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in his book Almagest, written around 150 AD.
There is not a single point on our planet from where we could see all the constellations existing in the sky. Therefore, star charts are divided into two parts: a map of the Southern Hemisphere and a map of the Northern Hemisphere.
They travel from east to west, just like our sun. Every night at dusk, new stars and constellations begin to appear in the eastern sky. And by dawn, they move and disappear behind the western horizon. The constellations that appear in the east have a daytime shear rate of approximately 1 degree per day. Since a full revolution is 365 degrees, and a year lasts 365 days, in general, they are in approximately the same place every year on the same day (with an error of approximately 5 degrees in relation to the previous year).
Each constellation has its own Greek mythology about how it originated. Usually these stories are associated with gods and mysterious mythological creatures. These include King Cepheus, his wife Cassiopeia and daughter Andromeda. Hercules is the son of Zeus and Alcmene, Leo of the Nemean lion, killed by Hercules. Perseus is the son of Zeus and Danae, Pegasus, the horse that came to life from the shed blood of Medusa, which Perseus killed, and so on.
There are the so-called constellations of the “Zodiac”. There are 13 of them. Twelve of them are also used as signs of the zodiacal calendar and astrology. These include:
- A lion.
Since ancient times, they have served as an important reference point for people. According to them, people determined the days when it was necessary to plant and harvest. By the way, farmers were among the first to use them in their business (agriculture). They were also used to keep track of the calendar. But, perhaps, they occupied the most important role in the field of navigation. For example, having found the Ursa Minor, it is enough to simply find the Pole Star. Using the North Star, sailors could easily determine the direction in which they were moving. The thing is that the North Star is located directly above the North Pole. It is not visible in the southern hemisphere.
They knew about them even in Ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks adopted the understanding of the stars, most likely from the ancient Egyptians, and they, in turn, received knowledge about the starry sky from the Babylonians. Those, in turn, are considered by many to be the founders of astronomy. But actually it is not. The Babylonians used the Sumerian developments, as evidenced by records from about 1000 BC, where the names of Sumerian scientists are mentioned.
There are also rock carvings made by man about 17,000 years ago, which depict stars gathered in groups.
They are sometimes grouped into families. These families are located in one part of the sky, and their name is taken from the most famous constellation in this area. For example, the Hercules family consists of 19 constellations, Ursa Major from 10, Perseus from 9, Orion from 5.
The very first star that people photographed was the Sun, which is not at all surprising. The second star people photographed was Vega. It is located in the Lyre, which, in turn, has the shape of a harp.
Orion is one of the oldest constellations known to mankind. Orion is known not only for being the oldest, but also for the fact that it can be seen from almost anywhere on the planet. It also contains some of the brightest stars that form the famous Orion Belt. That’s all for us, dear readers. Thank you for choosing our site among all Internet resources.