Some Basic Facts About
the Classical Constellations


A bear figure has been connected with the constellation Ursa Major since the Ice Ages.

The ancient Babylonians and Egyptians had constellation figures before the Greeks. In some cases, these may correspond with later Greek constellations; in other cases, there is no correspondence; and in yet other cases an earlier figure might be represented in a different part of the sky.

Coma Berenices and Antinous were the last two constellations to be identified by the Greeks and Romans.

Canopus was the "lowest" visible star to the Ancient Greeks.

Ancient poets identified the Milky Way as the "road of the gods."

In antiquity the constellation Libra was known as the "Claws of the Scorpion."

The constellations Hydra, Crater, Corvus are all explained by the same Greek myth.

The constellation of the Hunter (Orion) is accompanied by his hunting dogs (Canis Major and Canis Minor)

The figures of Pegasus, Taurus, and Argo are only partially represented in their constellations.

The myth most often represented among the constellations is that of Perseus and Andromeda

The Babylonians and Greeks both identified the five visible planets with one of their gods.

The Pleiades were a seasonal sign common to many ancient civilizations.

Triangulum is the only geometric shape among the Greek and Roman constellation figures.

Three animals are represented twice among the constellations: Canis Major/Canis Minor, Ursa Major/Ursa Minor, Pisces/Piscis Austrinus.

The constellation figures of the northern hemisphere are over 2000 years old.


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