7-most-beautiful-constellations

The 7 Most Beautiful Constellations

tl;dr: check out our The 7 Most Stunning Constellations Infographic.

Humans started exploring the heavens above when we began mapping the night’s sky. This started with primitive recordings of bright lights, eventually turning into shapes and objects, which later became known as constellations. These collection of stars have helped humans navigate, determine dates and seasons, and much more.

Constellations are composed of a collection bright stars which appear close to one other in the sky, but in reality are extremely far apart in space. Therefore, the shapes of the constellations that we can observe from Earth all depends on our point of view and location on the globe.

From a historical point of view, the majority of constellations we all know and love stem from ancient Greek mythology. Interestingly enough, various other civilizations have also created their own patterns and symbols in the sky using stars as the outline. Like the Greeks, other civilizations based their cultural stories and tales to create objects using stars; Egyptian records greatly contribute to our knowledge of these practices, today.

How Does One Understand Constellations?

A somewhat easy and simple way to understand constellations begins with 1) rotation and 2) relative position of the Earth. The categorization of each constellation is derived from its latitudinal positions.

Knowing rotation and position are essential in the observation and understanding of constellations, experts have divided the constellations into two groups; Circumpolar Constellations and Seasonal Constellations.

Circumpolar Constellations: these constellations never rise nor set.

All other constellations are referred to and defined as Seasonal Constellations.

Constellations are regarded as one of the most beautiful and amazing sights in the night’s sky. They’re not merely abstract designs in the sky; but indeed mythical and magical drawings meant to provide information and inspire observers!

Without further ado, here’s our list of the 7 Most Beautiful Constellations:

Most Beautiful Constellation #7: Ursa Minor

A tale of inter-family drama, Arcas was about to kill his own mother, Callisto, who was transformed into a bear by Hera. Tragedy was avoided when he was also transformed into a bear, by Zeus, who then placed mother and son in the sky. Ursa Minor is one of the most recognized constellations and most certainly a sight worth watching!

  • Constellation Family Name: The Little Bear
  • Main Stars: 7
  • Stars with Planets: 4
  • Brightest Star: Polaris
  • Nearest Star: U U UMi
  • Messier Objects: 0
  • Best Visibility: June, 9 p.m.

 

7-most-beautiful-constellations-ursa-minor

“UrsaMinorCC” by Till Credner – Own work: http://goo.gl/F3LvBs. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/FfYX3C

 

Most Beautiful Constellation #6: Virgo

In this tale, a powerful and influential mother named Demeter; goddess of crops, vegetation, fertility and harvest. Her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped by Hades as she was gathering flowers. Her mother, Demeter retaliated by stopping the growth of all green plants. Zeus appointed the goddess Hecate to arbitrate a solution between Hades and Demeter.

Eventually, Hecate ruled that if Persephone had not eaten any food while in the realm of the dead, she could be returned to her mother. Unfortunately Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds while kidnapped.

Demeter persisted with the suspension of plant growth until Zeus interfered again. He ordered that Persephone stay with Hades for only three months per year and the rest of the year she could spend with her mother. During the three months with Hades, the growth of plants is suspended which is winter. The appearance of the constellation in the spring signals the return of Persephone to Demeter and the new growth of crops.

  • Constellation Family Name: Zodiac
  • Main Stars: 9, 15
  • Stars with Planets: 29
  • Brightest Star: Spica
  • Nearest Star: Ross 128
  • Messier Objects: 11
  • Best Visibility: May, 9 p.m.

 

7-most-beautiful-constellations-virgo

“VirgoCC” by Till Credner – Own work, http://goo.gl/RJAaUC. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/0TVite

 

The Greeks and Romans associate Virgo with their goddess of wheat/agriculture. Alternatively, she was sometimes identified as the virgin goddess Justitia or Astraea, holding the scales of justice in her hand as the constellation Libra.

Another myth identifies Virgo as Erigone, the daughter of Icarus of Athens. Icarus, who had been favored by Dionysus, later killed by his shepherds while they were intoxicated. Erigone hanged herself in grief; Dionysus placed the father and daughter in the stars as Boötes and Virgo respectively.

Back in the Middle Ages, Virgo was sometimes associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Virgo is one of the most cross-cultural and important figures in mythology.

Most Beautiful Constellation #5: Perseus

In Greek mythology, Perseus, labelled as the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans, beheaded the Gorgon Medusa and saved Andromeda from the sea monster Cetus. He is also viewed as the son of the mortal Danaë and the god Zeus.

  • Constellation Family Name: Perseus
  • Main Stars: 19
  • Stars with Planets: 7
  • Brightest Star: Per
  • Nearest Star: G 174-14
  • Messier Objects: 2
  • Best Visibility: December, 9 p.m.

 

7-most-beautiful-constellations-perseus

“PerseusCC” by Till Credner – Own work: http://goo.gl/wawwMP. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/4VdnFQ

 

Most Beautiful Constellation #4: Hercules

Hercules is a constellation named after one of the most famous characters of all time; Hercules. He’s best known as the Roman mythological hero adapted from the Greek hero Heracles, also a Disney character.

Historically, Hercules was termed as one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and to date, it remains one of the 88 modern constellations. Additionally, it is the fifth largest of the modern constellations, fitting for a mythological character who is described as being larger than life.

  • Constellation Family Name: Hercules
  • Main Stars: 14, 22
  • Stars with Planets: 15
  • Brightest Star: Her
  • Nearest Star: Gliese 661
  • Messier Objects: 2
  • Best Visibility: July, 9 p.m.

 

7-most-beautiful-constellations-hercules

“HerculesCC” by Till Credner – Own work: http://goo.gl/RDY4PL. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/EETjx6

 

Most Beautiful Constellation #3: Cassiopeia

The Queen, Cassiopeia, was gazing at herself in a mirror and proclaimed herself to be more beautiful than the Nereids, the sea nymphs. As punishment Poseidon demanded that the princess Andromeda be sacrificed to the sea monster, Cetus.

After Cassiopeia’s daughter, Andromeda, was saved by Perseus, Cassiopeia plotted with her daughter’s ex-fiancée Agenor to kill Perseus. Perseus used Medusa’s head to turn Cassiopeia, Agenor and his soldiers to fixed stone. In the constellation, Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus are facing each other’s feet. The name “Cassiopeia” is a Phoenician phrase that actually means the “Rose-Colored Face.”

  • Constellation Family Name: Perseus
  • Main Stars: 5
  • Stars with Planets: 7
  • Brightest Star: Cas
  • Nearest Star: Cas
  • Messier Objects: 2
  • Best Visibility: November, 9 p.m.

 

7-most-beautiful-constellations-cassiopeia

“CassiopeiaCC” by Till Credner – Own work: http://goo.gl/RDY4PL. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/28VXUY

 

Most Beautiful Constellation #2: Andromeda

Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus of Ethiopia. The mother chained her daughter to a rock as a sacrifice to the sea monster Cetus. Andromeda was saved at the last-minute by her hero and a hopeful love interest, Perseus. Later, Andromeda married Perseus and went on to become the mother of Perseus, the founder and ruler of Persia.

  • Constellation Family Name: Perseus
  • Main Stars: 16
  • Stars with Planets: 12
  • Brightest Star: And
  • Nearest Star: Ross 248
  • Messier Objects: 3
  • Best Visibility: November, 9 p.m.

 

7-most-beautiful-constellations-andromeda

“AndromedaCC” by Till Credner – Own work: http://goo.gl/rh3lt1. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/eAx6Yd

 

Most Beautiful Constellation #1: Orion

Orion was given away as an infant by Zeus and Poseidon, and later transformed into a great hunter. Later in his life, he fell in love with Artemis, the moon goddess.

Her brother, Apollo, did not approve of this and complained to Gaia. Gaia later sent Orion and Scorpius to a great battle and in the end both died. Zeus placed Orion in the winter sky and Scorpius in the summer sky so they cannot see each other and thus not be able to fight with one another ever again.

One of the most famous and easy to detect objects in the night’s sky is Orion’s Belt. Some say that the Egyptians built the pyramids at Giza to resemble the exact formation of Orion’s Belt.

  • Constellation Family Name: Orion
  • Main Stars: 7
  • Stars with Planets: 10
  • Brightest Star: Rigel
  • Nearest Star: Ross GJ 3379
  • Messier Objects: 3
  • Best Visibility: January, 9 p.m.

 

7-most-beautiful-constellations-orion

“OrionCC” by Till Credner – Own work: http://goo.gl/rh3lt1. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/nthl1d

 

The most beautiful constellations are difficult to choose; however each is unique and extraordinary in their own special way. Each of them have a tale to tell and those interested in the mythological tales told for generations and generations, will definitely love indulging in these constellations.

 

Featured Image by Robert Thompson, https://flic.kr/p/hZMsqi
Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constellation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_modern_constellations
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursa_Minor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgo_(constellation)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_(constellation)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_(constellation)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassiopeia_(constellation)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_(constellation)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(constellation)

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10 Comments

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  3. maddie roesd

    Love the stars so buetiful

  4. maddie roesd

    love the sky and the stars it is just my life LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! ! ! !

  5. Ritika

    Nice pack of knowledge but incomplete information on brightest stars.

  6. Knietz Perez

    I love to stare the stars and constellation at night. How many visible constellations do we have? Thanks a lot for posting this blog.

  7. wild

    this list has scientific basis or just your opinion? beauty is in the eye of the beholder. lol

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