February Constellations


Show Names

This view spans most of the sky as seen on winter evenings. Straight up is in the middle of the circle; the southern horizon is at the bottom. It would be hard to miss our featured constellation, Orion: he is the man-shaped pattern high in the south, brimming with bright stars including the distinctive three which mark his belt or waist. The sky around Orion, however, is spectacular enough to distract us - the pentagonal shape north of him is Auriga the chariot driver; east of that are the twin trails of stars marking the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux (collectively called Gemini).

[More on the constellations below...]

Southeast of Orion is the brightest night time star of all (the sun is a star, remember), Sirius, in what they tell me is Canis Major the big dog but looks a lot more like a surfer to me. Canis Major is one of two hunting dogs belonging to Orion; the other is due east of Orion, marked by the solitary bright star Procyon.

In the far north, we see the "W" of Cassiopeia setting into the west, and opposite her across the celestial pole is the "big dipper" of Ursa Major rising into view. Between them is the much fainter little dipper of Ursa Minor, noteworthy only because the star at the end of it's handle is Polaris, the north pole star.

To see the constellation names and read more about them, click on "constellations in depth", below.
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