Star Charts for On-line Astronomy

Below is a series of connections to star charts that will be useful for this course. These images were obtained from software I own at home. Each chart is to be used by holding it over your head against the night sky and then trying to locate stars or constellations. If you look at each chart, you will see the compass directions to the 4 sides of the page. East and West are reversed on the page when you look at it, but when you hold the chart overhead, then East and West will be where they are expected to be.

Secondly, the sky above is a dome ... not a flat space (while many astronomers argue for a "flat Universe," that is not affecting your view of the night sky). To get a better perspective of where to locate celestial sights, please curve the chart overhead from East to West, or North to South to create the similarity to the celestial sphere's dome shape. Constellations at the top and bottom or the chart will not be oriented on your page as they appear in the sky.

Finally, the sky NEVER looks just like the images on your chart. If you are in an area of extreme light pollution, you might barely see star. If you get on top of a distant mountain, you might see so many stars as to make picking out a constellation difficult. And, to make matters worse, there are no connecting lines in the night sky to delineate one constellation from another. It takes time to master the use of a star chart, but the effort will pay off.

Please click on any of the small chart images below. This will take you to a full page version of that chart that you can then print out for your observation run. As time goes on, this page will change. I will try to add more charts and close-ups of major constellations to aid you in your studies. All charts are set up to be as the night sky will appear from Minneapolis, MN.


Constellation Chart

Star Chart

September 15, 2002 10:00 pm

December 15, 2002 10:00 pm

March 15, 2003 10:00 pm

June 15, 2003 10:00 pm

Big Dipper (left) Lyra (right)

If you do not like this method of getting a star chart, you can access an internet site where printable maps for each month are also available. This site offers you a chance to download charts for the southern hemisphere if you are planning a trip to Australia or New Zealand and wnat to know what you are looking at down under. One really cool thing is that when you travel south of the equator, all of the constellations in the northern hemisphere will appear upside down. Looks strange to see Orion standing on his head.

Back to Star Charts, Constellations, Celestial Objects, Star Observation.

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