Which constellations can you find easily?
There are 88 constellations on the official IAU list. 48 of them are from Ptolemy’s second century publication. Many of the constellations however are not so easy to find or are not so interesting. The IAU list intended to allocate the entire sky into constellation groups. In doing so many of the lesser known constellations shapes are not descriptive or have no prominent stars. This page aims to clarify which constellations are both easy to locate and which are easy to imagine from the formation of the stars. We focus on the prominent constellations, predominantly those from Ptolemy’s list. This includes many constellations that are important for navigation, include the brightest stars in the sky and form shapes that depict humans and animals. Ptolemy’s list included the majority of widely known constellations including the zodiacs, the many greek mythological constellations and those that identify the polar north.
Easiest constellations to find for each month
Constellation – Difficulty to locate – Difficulty to imagine – Season – Best month
Orion – Very Easy – Easy – Winter –
Canis Major – Very Easy – Very easy – Winter –
Where to start searching for constellations?
There are a number of constellations that are beneficial to become familiar with initially as they will help locate others.
Ursa Major is visible throughout the year from the northern hemisphere and is the primary constellation for orienting yourself in the northern sky.
Orion is the primary constellations for locating others throughout winter.