Shooting The Star

Constellations

A constellation is a group of stars that looks like a particular shape or pattern in the sky and has been given the name for example Orion the Great Hunter, Leo the Lion, or Taurus the Bull. These stars are far away from Earth. They are not connected at all. Some stars in a constellation might be close while others are very far away. But, if you were to draw lines in the sky between the stars like a dot-to-dot puzzle – the picture would look like an object, animal, or person.

 

Over time, cultures around the world have had different names and numbers of constellations depending on what people thought they saw. Today, there are 88 officially recognized constellations.

Why do we see different Constellations during the year?

It has been observed that through out the year, the constellations shift gradually from East to West. This is caused by the Earth’s orbit around our Sun. In the summer, viewers are looking in a different direction in space at night due to the Earth’s position than they are during the winter.

What are the Zodiac signs?

As we know that the Earth orbits our Sun once each year. Viewed from Earth, our Sun appears to trace a circular path. This path defines a plane called the plane of the ecliptic. The zodiac is the group (or “belt”) of constellations that fall along the plane of the ecliptic. It is through these constellations that our Sun appears to “pass” during the year. While there are 12 astrological constellations of the zodiac and there are 13 astronomical zodiac constellations:  Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, and Ophiuchus. The annual cycle of the zodiac was used by ancient cultures to determine the time of year.

Constellations and stars stay in approximately the same spot for many years. They only appear to move in the sky during the year as we are on a moving planet but the constellations are in a fixed location. Constellations are often used as landmarks in the sky. Many stars, nebulae, and other objects are named after the constellations they are found in.

For example, meteor showers are named for the constellation where the meteors appear to be coming from. So, for example, the Orionids meteor shower, which occurs in October each year, seems to come from the same direction as the constellation Orion the Hunter.

Known stars, such as those in well-known constellations, can also be used to navigate. For centuries, sailors used stars to navigate their location at Sea. This is called celestial navigation.

In this service, we will be just gazing at the different constellations present in the sky at that moment and identifying them.

“The Milky Way is nothing else but a mass of innumerable stars planted together in clusters.” – Galileo Galilei

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