Animal constellations in the night sky. How many are there?

There are 42 animal constellations in the night sky.

That is almost half of the official 88 constellations!

Here are the other types of constellations you will find in the celestial sphere. This is a fun activity for kids astronomy!

There are 42 animal constellations, 28 objects, 14 humans, 2 chimeras (a mix of human and animal), and 2 natural features (a river and a mesa).

Constellations are of many types. There are 42 animal constellations, 28 objects, 14 human constellations, 2 chimeras, and 2 natural features
88 official constellations broken down into 5 groups: 42 animals, 28 objects, 14 humans, 2 chimeras, and 2 natural features.

The 88 constellations listed by type:

Animal Apus Bird of Paradise
Aquila Eagle
Aries Ram
Camelopardus Giraffe
Cancer Crab
Canes Venatici Hunting dogs
Canis Major Big dog
Canis Minor Little dog
Capricornus Sea goat
Cetus Sea monster (whale)
Chamaeleon Chameleon
Columba Dove
Corvus Crow
Cygnus Swan
Delphinus Porpoise
Dorado Swordfish
Draco Dragon
Equuleus Little horse
Grus Crane
Hydra Sea serpent
Hydrus Water snake
Lacerta Lizard
Leo Lion
Leo Minor Little lion
Lepus Hare
Lupus Wolf
Lynx Lynx
Monoceros Unicorn
Musca Fly
Pavo Peacock
Pegasus Pegasus, the winged horse
Phoenix Phoenix
Pisces Fishes
Piscis Austrinis Southern fish
Scorpius Scorpion
Serpens Serpent
Taurus Bull
Tucana Toucan
Ursa Major Big bear
Ursa Minor Little bear
Volans Flying fish
Vulpecula Fox
Chimera Centaurus Centaur
Sagittarius Archer
Human Andromeda Princess of Ethiopia
Aquarius Water bearer
Auriga Charioteer
Bootes Herdsman
Cassiopeia Queen of Ethiopia
Cephus King of Ethiopia
Coma Berenices Berenice’s hair
Gemini Twins
Hercules Hercules, son of Zeus
Indus Indian
Ophiuchus Holder of serpent
Orion Orion, the hunter
Perseus, hero who saved Andromeda
Virgo Virgin
Natural Feature Eridanus River
Mensa Table mountain
Object Antlia Air pump
Ara Altar
Caelum Graving tool
Carina Keel of Argonauts’ ship
Circinus Compasses
Corona Australis Southern crown
Corona Borealis Northern crown
Crater Cup
Crux Cross (southern)
Fornax Furnace
Horologium Clock
Libra Balance
Lyra Lyre or harp
Microscopium Microscope
Norma Carpenter’s Level
Octans Octant
Pictor Easel
Puppis Stern of the Argonauts’ ship
Pyxis (=Malus) Compass on the Argonauts’ ship
Reticulum Net
Sagitta Arrow
Sculptor Sculptor’s tools
Scutum Shield
Sextans Sextant
Telescopium Telescope
Triangulum Triangle
Triangulum Australe Southern triangle
Vela Sail of the Argonauts’ ship


Merry-Go-Round Earth shows Seasonal Constellations

Welcome Starry Night event visitors! We built this fun, interactive model of the merry-go-round Earth on the evening of March 3rd, 2018 around a real campfire. Read on for the background and teaching method.

The Earth is like a Merry-Go-Round

Merry-Go-Round Earth model demonstrating how the seasonal constellations work
A Merry-Go-Round is a good model of daily Earth rotation.

The Earth is like a merry-go-round showing us seasonal constellations

That iconic childhood ride. Round and round each day we go, round and round each year we go, where we stop nobody knows! When we look out from the edge of the ride we can see the space beyond. Sometimes the Sun occupies that space, and sometimes that space is the night sky filled with stars.Click here to continue reading…

See Mercury and Venus orbits during the day

Your hands and arms help you see the orbits of Mercury and Venus and the shape of solar system

Question: If you could see the orbit of Venus would it fill the whole sky?

The answer might surprise you!

You can use your hands and arms to see the size of the orbits of the solar system’s inner planets: Mercury and Venus.

Imagine (as pictured below) if the orbit of Mercury were visible as a red oval and the orbit of Venus were visible in green.

Use your hands and elbows to see Mercury and Venus orbits any time of day or night. The orbits of Mercury and Venus can be seen.
Two hand spans show Mercury’s orbit, elbows show Venus’s orbit.

Physical Astronomy – see Mercury and Venus orbits

Caution! Do not look directly at the Sun without proper solar safety glasses on.

Turn toward the Sun, hold your arms out straight, hands up in the air with fingers spread wide and thumbs touching. Your pinky fingers now span the width of the orbit of Mercury and your elbows span the width of the orbit of Venus.

Both of the entire orbits of Mercury and Venus orbits would be visible in the sky all at once – if they could be made visible during the day.

Click here to continue reading…

Galaxy Rise

Physical Astronomy by Daniel Cummings

A still more glorious dawn awaits Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise A morning filled with 400 billion suns The rising of the milky way.

The Sun rises. The Moon rises. Stars rise. The Galaxy rises – twice.

Each day the Earth rotates and sky objects (seem to) rise in the Eastern sky. The Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and the Galaxy rise at various times.

The Sun “rises” once-a-day at the start of the day.

The Moon “rises” once-a-day at different times of the day and night depending on the moon’s orbit around the Earth (its phase).

The Stars “rise” once-a-day – all night long, one after another and in groups.

The Milky Way Galaxy “rises” twice a day – once on its bright (center) side and then 12 hours later on its dim (outer arm) side.

We can orient our bodies to the rising of the Milky Way. And we can experience our daily movement as “plunging through” this flat disk of stars.

Click here to continue reading…