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Becoming Familiar with Constellations



  • Step 1: Start the software Stellarium. Generate the sky map at 10 PM showing the constellation names.


  • Step 2: The controls and resolution should be set such that (i) the 'Ground' is on (ii) the names of planets are listed, (iii) the entire sky is visible in a single image, (iv) The cardinal points are shown with 'N' at the top of the image.


  • Step 3: Identify the different constellations visually on the virtual sky. Make a rough sketch of all the constellations on a piece of paper. The sketch should show the locations of all the prominent stars in each constellation with a line joining them to roughly show the shape of the constellation.


  • Step 4: Make a rough drawing of the sky you actually observe manually on a piece of paper. Start by labeling the directions, N, S, E, W. Specify the positions of some prominent features, such as buildings, in your locality on the map. Now draw dots to show the stars you observe with the aim to identify their constellation. A sample of the night sky drawing with constellations is given below. It was drawn for the night sky observed at IIT Kanpur on 21st October, 2010. Compare your map with that shown by Stellarium and hence identify the constellations directly in the sky.


  • Step 5: Repeat above steps at 12 midnight.



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