Constellations for kids - what are they anyway?

This constellations for kids page will give you an intro to ancient Astronomy constellations. So what are they? Well, they are star groupings that form patterns in the sky. These star groupings came from the imaginations of people like sailors, astronomers, and farmers over many thousands of years.

These star clusters can be located in many different sections of the night sky. The average person can recognize these groupings by simply looking for a group of stars, especially the brightly lit stars, and try to form a pattern in them. You can find many books from the library that talk about these groupings and what stars form the various patterns. The best books actually have charts in them which you can take outside with you to help locate the specific patterns of stars that you are looking for.

So why did ancient civilizations look to find patterns among the stars? The answer is simple. These patterns helped them find the stars and where they are in the sky. On a clear night, you can see about 1500 stars! People came up with the idea of these star groupings to map out the sky into manageable sections.

Did you know there are 88 constellations that are recognized today?

Now that you know how many star groupings there are, let’s talk about some of the more popular ones.

Andromeda The chained lady. In Greek mythology, Andromeda was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster. Perseus saved her life, so she married him.

Canis Major The great dog. In Greek mythology, one of the hunting dogs of Orion.

Cygnus The Swan. According to the legend, Cygnus is one of the birds Hercules hunts. Don`t worry! Cygnus got away!

OrionThe hunter. In Greek mythology, a scorpion stung Orion and he died.

These star groupings are cool! And they help astronomers make sense of all those stars too. The next time you’re looking at the night sky, see if you can pick a few out! You won’t even need a telescope!

Heck, since they are star groupings, a fun game would be to look at some stars and try to make some new star groupings. That would be a great way to start your study of Astronomy. Even though they wouldn't be official star groupings, you'd be having fun, and the best approach to learning something is to make it fun.

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