Major constellations

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Orion Orion is one of the major constellations, with right5 ascesion 5 hours and declination 5 degrees and is best seen in January. Orion has 14 named stars and 3 nebulas. Orion has been represented as a hunter with his 2 faithful dogs canis major and minor. He is supposed to have died by stepping on a scorpion and the gods felt sorry for him and put him in the heavens with the animal he hunted but put scorpious at the other end of the skies.

Ursa major: 

Ursa major Ursa major is the third largest constellation in the night sky. It is widely known for containing the plough sometimes known as the big dipper. It has declination 50 degrees and right ascension 11 hours. It contains 16 stars, 5 galaxies,1 binary star and a planetary Nebula. According to some Native American legends, the bowl of the Big Dipper is a giant bear and the stars of the handle are three warriors chasing it. The constellation is low in the sky in autumn evening sky, so it was said that the hunters had injured the bear and its blood caused the trees to change colour to red.


Cassiopeia Cassiopeia is another of the major constellations. It lies at right ascension 1 hour and declination 60 degrees. It has 7 named stars and two open clusters. Take a look at the story of how Perseus slew Medusa, the mother of Pegasus, and rescued Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, from the sea monster Cetus. The Romans described her chained to her throne in the heavens as punishment for her boastfulness. As the sky appears to rotate, she can sometimes be seen suffering as she hangs upside down.


Taurus Taurus is another constellation with right ascension 4 hours and declination 15 degrees. It contains 15 stars and 2 constellations. Taurus is one of the many animals hunted by Orion, the Hunter. The Greeks saw Taurus as Zeus in disguise. The story went that Zeus fell in love with Europa, the daughter of Agenor who was King of Phoenica. one day, she caught sight of a majestic white bull grazing amongst her fathers heard. When she approached the bull, it knelt down and let get on it's back. Once she was on, it sprang to it's feet and took off to the sea in Crete where Zeus made her his mistress.


Leo Leo is the constellation known as the lion. It lies at right ascension 11 hours and declination 15 hours. It contains 11 stars and 5 galaxies. Leo is the Nemean Lion which was killed by Hercules on one of his great quests. Legend says that the lion had a hide that could not punctured by iron, bronze or stone. Since he couldn't reason with the ferocious beast, Hercules strangled it to death and the local people were very grateful.


Cygnus A conspicious constellation of the northern hemisphere. It belongs to the Hercules constellation family. The stars forming the swans body resemble a cross, so sometimes this constellation is refered as Northern Cross. The brightest star, alpha Cyg, called Deneb (arab.: the tail), is among the 20 brightest stars in the sky. The northern border of this constellation reaches as high as DECL=+60 degrees; to the south it extends down to about DECL=+28 degrees. From east to west it lies between RA=22h to RA=19h 10m (average).


Scorpius Scorpius is another constellation known as the scorpion. It lies at right ascension 17 hours and declination -40 degrees. It contains 10 stars and 4 clusters. Scorpius is the beast which finally killed the Great Hunter, Orion.


Gemini Gemini is another constellation known as the twins. It lies at right ascension 7 hours and declination 20 degrees. It contains 11 stars and 1 cluster. Castor and Pollux, the "twins" of Gemini, were Greek heroes. They were among the men Jason led on his voyages on the Argo. s


THE END … AT LAST By Ross Dunstone, Neil Bolton and Nathan Mark

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