Student Research Pages - Constellations
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As long as people have lived on Earth they've watched the sky. And, so that they could explain what they saw up there at night, people made maps. To do that, they divided, grouped, and named the objects they saw in the night sky.
Areas of the Sky
We call an official area of the sky a "constellation" (con-stel-AY-shun). Officially, there are 88 areas of the sky. So, officially there are 88 constellations. Since Texas lies in the Northern Hemisphere we can’t see all 88.
A long time ago, people named the areas after the pictures the stars formed - or the pictures they kind of formed.
Today, we still use the names from the days when things weren't so official. Why? Because we've used many of those names for more than a thousand years – why change them now?! This list shows names of a few constellations we can see in the skies above Texas:
Big Dipper and Little Dipper
These two aren't constellations of their own, but part of two others. But they're so famous we've got to tell you about them! As star-drawings they kind of look like dippers used to sip water so that's where they got their names. Because of their locations, us lucky Texans get to stare at them year long!