Constellations

Constellation Hunter

Sketching the Northern Constellations

Curious about the night sky and what constellations you can see? We’re posting Constellation Hunter videos to help you find constellations you can see from wherever you are (in the northern hemisphere). No telescope required!

To get the most out of your Constellation Hunting experience, consider sketching your observations. Sketching is not only a fun and creative activity, but it also is an important way to build your skills in observation. It also helps you take some time and notice details you may have missed otherwise.

Constellation Hunters is an Astronomical League Observing Program. This program strives to provide an orientation to the sky for novice astronomers so they can learn to navigate among the stars and become more familiar with the constellations and brighter stars in the sky.

Just for fun: Learn how to find a few of the constellations listed below. To get more out of your observing experience, sketch your observations. Keep your sketches and start a portfolio of your observations.

Looking for a challenge? Use the list below to find and sketch all 39 constellations, then submit your sketches to the Minnesota Astronomical Society and the Astronomical League to earn a Constellation Hunter certificate & pin!

There are constellations from each season to observe and sketch. You can start this challenge any time of year and keep it going all year until you’ve observed them all.

Materials:

Star map

Red flashlight

For sketching, you’ll also want:

Clipboard or hard surface to sketch on

Sketching sheet (or paper)

Pencil or other sketching utensil

Here are some videos to help with your hunt:

Bell Museum YouTube channel—Constellation Hunters playlist.

If you’re keeping a record of your observations, there’s important information you’ll want to include with each constellation sketch:

Date and time of observation

Latitude and longitude of observation (here’s how to find your Lat/Long using Google Maps: Android, iPhone/iPad, computer)

Constellation name

Sky conditions: Transparency & Seeing

  • Seeing is a measure of how stable the sky is
  • Transparency is a measure of how clear the sky is
  • See the FAQ below for how to measure these

A sketch of all the stars that were visible to the unaided eye out to the limits of the constellation’s boundaries. Take a look at this example.

  • Star names should be identified on the sketch.
  • Other objects in the constellation that you can see with your eyes. Possible examples may include: galaxies, open clusters, globular clusters, and nebulae.

Certificate & Pin Program from the Minnesota Astronomical Society and its parent organization, the Astronomical League

Requirements to receive a certificate & pin:

Observe and sketch all 39 constellations on the list

Become a member of the Minnesota Astronomical Society (MAS). Learn about member benefits here.

Scan and email a copy of your sketches as a PDF along with the following information to the Minnesota Astronomical Society AL Coordinator at jjones7777@aol.com. Do not send original materials. They will not be returned to you.

Name
Mailing address
Email address
Phone number
Society affiliation: Minnesota Astronomical Society

For more detailed information on the Constellation Hunter Program, visit the Astronomical League’s website.