Decmber Constellations


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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. Dominating the scene is the squarish pattern almost directly overhead; this is the "square of Pegasus".

Extending west from this asterism are the stars marking the rest of the mythical winged horse - to the east, two diverging trails of stars mark Andromeda, the maiden. Just north of these stars, the unaided eye can spot the oval glow of the Andromeda Galaxy if your sky conditions are dark. Looking toward the fading sunset, we can still see the three bright stars of the "summer triangle", which was overhead at this time of night a few months ago.

[More on the constellations below...]

In the southwest, the only bright star is lonely Fomalhaut. Above Fomalhaut and to its left is a large fish-shaped pattern with several fairly bright stars - this is Cetus the whale. Looking to the east, you can see dozens of bright stars - these are the brilliant winter constellations such as Taurus the bull (look for the V-shaped Hyades and tiny dipper-shaped Pleadies clusters here) and Orion, with the three stars marking his belt. Coming up in the northeast is Capella, the bright star marking the pentagonal Auriga the chariot driver.

Just east of straight overhead, we can see the distinctive "W" which betrays Cassiopeia the queen - to its left, an inverted "Y" marks Perseus, which is our featured constellation this month. To the other side of Cassiopeia's "W" is a house shaped pattern: her husband, king Cepheus.

To see the constellation names and read more about them, click on the "Next" icon.

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