The Constellations

The original constellations are star patterns in the night sky that ancient cultures identified with their mythologies. Many of those in the Northern Hemisphere are based on the constellations created by the Babylonians and the Greeks. These include the 12 constellations of the Zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces) that lie along the Sun's annual path across the sky.

As modern astronomy developed, many of the old star patterns were adopted to identify regions of the sky on the celestial sphere. From the southern hemisphere there were large uncharted areas of the southern sky that 17th and 18th century astronomers filled with new constellations. In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted the modern list of 88 constellations that we recognize and use today.

The table below lists details for the IAU's 88 modern constellations. They cover the entire sky in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The name of each constellation links to a page featuring maps and more details.


The Constellations
No. Constellation IAU
Abbrv.
Genitive Description Location Area
Deg.²
Area
%
Area
Rank
1AndromedaAndAndromedaeChained MaidenN7221.7519
2AntliaAntAntliaeAir PumpS2390.5862
3ApusApsApodisBird of ParadiseS2060.5067
4AquariusAqrAquariiWater CarrierS/Eq/Z9802.3810
5AquilaAqlAquilaeEagleEq6521.5822
6AraAraAraeAltarS2370.5763
7AriesAriArietisRamN/Z4411.0739
8AurigaAurAurigaeCharioteerN6571.5921
9BootesBooBootisHerdsmanN9072.2013
10CaelumCaeCaeliChiselS1250.3081
11CamelopardalisCamCamelopardalisGiraffeN7571.8418
12CancerCncCancriCrabN/Z5061.2331
13Canes VenaticiCVnCanun VenaticorumHunting DogsN4651.1338
14Canis MajorCMaCanis MajorisGreater DogS3800.9243
15Canis MinorCMiCanis MinorisLesser DogN/Eq1830.4471
16CapricornusCapCapricorniSea GoatS/Z4141.0040
17CarinaCarCarinaeKeelS4941.2034
18CassiopeiaCasCassiopeiaeSeated QueenN5981.4525
19CentaurusCenCentauriCentaurS10602.579
20CepheusCepCepheiKingS5881.4327
21CetusCetCetiSea MonsterEq12312.984
22ChamaleonChaChamaleontisChameleonS1320.3278
23CircinusCirCirciniCompassesS930.2385
24ColumbaColColumbaeDoveS2700.6554
25Coma BerenicesComComae BerenicesBerenice's HairN3860.9442
26Corona AustralisCrACoronae AustralisSouthern CrownS1280.3180
27Corona BorealisCrBCoronae BorealisNorthern CrownN1790.4372
28CorvusCrvCorviCrowS1840.4570
29CraterCrtCraterisCupS2820.6853
30CruxCruCrucisSouthern CrossS680.1688
31CygnusCygCygniSwanN8041.9516
32DelphinusDelDelphiniDolphinN1890.4669
33DoradoDorDoradusSwordfishS1790.4373
34DracoDraDraconisDragonN10832.638
35EquuleusEquEquuleiLittle HorseN720.1787
36EridanusEriEridaniRiverS/Eq11382.766
37FornaxForFornacisFurnaceS3980.9641
38GeminiGemGeminorumTwinsN/Z5141.2530
39GrusGruGruisCraneS3660.8945
40HerculesHerHerculisStrong ManN12252.975
41HorologiumHorHorologiiClockS2490.6058
42HydraHyaHydraeWater Serpent (female)S/Eq13033.161
43HydrusHyiHydriWater Serpent (male)S2430.5961
44IndusIndIndiIndianS2940.7149
45LacertaLacLacertaeLizardN2010.4968
46LeoLeoLeonisLionN/Eq/Z9472.3012
47Leo MinorLMiLeonis MinorisSmall LionN2320.5664
48LepusLepLeporisHareS2900.7051
49LibraLibLibraeBalanceS/Z5381.3029
50LupusLupLupiWolfS3340.8146
51LynxLynLyncisLynxN5451.3228
52LyraLyrLyraeLyreN2860.6952
53MensaMenMensaeTableS1530.3775
54MicroscopiumMicMicroscopiiMicroscopeS2100.5166
55MonocerosMonMonocerotisUnicornEq4821.1735
56MuscaMusMuscaeFlyS1380.3377
57NormaNorNormaeSquareS1650.4074
58OctansOctOctantisOctantS2910.7150
59OphiucusOphOphiuchiSerpent BearerEq9482.3011
60OrionOriOrionisHunterEq5941.4426
61PavoPavPavonisPeacockS3780.9244
62PegasusPegPegasiWinged HorseN11212.727
63PerseusPerPerseiHeroN6151.4924
64PhoenixPhePhoenicisFire BirdS4691.1437
65PictorPicPictorisEaselS2470.6059
66PiscesPscPisciumFishesN/Eq/Z8892.1514
67Pisces AustrinusPsAPisces AustriniSouthern FishS2450.5960
68PuppisPupPuppisSternS6731.6320
69PyxisPyxPyxidisCompassS2210.5465
70ReticulumRetReticuliReticleS1140.2882
71SagittaSgeSagittaeArrowN800.1986
72SagittariusSgrSagittariiArcherS/Z8672.1015
73ScorpiusScoScorpiiScorpionS/Z4971.2033
74SculptorSclSculptorisSculptorS4751.1536
75ScutumSctScutiShieldS1090.2684
76SerpensSerSerpentisSerpentEq6371.5423
77SextansSexSextantisSextantEq3140.7647
78TaurusTauTauriBullN/Eq/Z7971.9317
79TelescopiumTelTelescopiiTelescopeS2520.6157
80TriangulumTriTrianguliTriangleN1320.3279
81Triangulum AustraleTrATrianguli AustralisSouthern TriangleS1100.2783
82TucanaTucTucanaeToucanS2950.7248
83Ursa MajorUMaUrsae MajorisGreat BearN12803.103
84Ursa MinorUMiUrsae MinorisLittle BearN2560.6256
85VelaVelVelorumSailsS5001.2132
86VirgoVirVirginisVirginEq/Z12943.142
87VolansVolVolantisFlying FishS1410.3476
88VulpeculaVulVulpeculaeFoxN2680.6555

The Constellations
Column Descriptions
Heading Description
No. Constellation Number in Alphabetic Order
Constellation Name of Constellation
IAU Abbrev. IAU 3-Letter Constellation Abbreviation
Genetive Genetive Form (Latin) of the Constellation Name
Description Translation or Common Name of Constellation
Location Hemisphere or Location on Celestial Sphere
(N=Northern, S=Southern, Eq=Equitorial, Z=Zodiac)
Area Area of Constellation on Celestial Sphere (sq. degrees)
Area Percent Percent of Constellation's Area Relative to the
Entire Celestial Sphere (41,253 sq. deg.)
Area Rank Rank of Constellation in Area