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CONSTELLATIONS Constellations are groupings of the brighter visible stars in the night sky Many of these groupings are based on imaginary figures that are seen on the inner surface of a huge sphere surrounding the earth They divide the celestial sphere into 88 constellations 47 of which date from ancient times and were listed by the astronomer Ptolemy The boundaries are often complex But all segments of the boundaries lie ease-west and north-south on the celestial sphere Constellations are used today to show general directions in the sky The constellations may be divided into three groups 1 the equatorial constellations which lie on each side of the celestial equator the projection onto the sky of the earths equator 2 the north circumpolar constellations which never set for observers at northern mid-latitudes and 3 the south circumpolar constellations which never set for observers at southern mid-latitudes The zodiac widely used in astrology consists of 12 constellations through which the orbital motion The suns yearly path is called the ecliptic The times when given constellations rise and set depends on the time of year and on the observers position on the earths surface Constellations also slowly shift on the celestial spheres coordinates because of the precession of the equinoxes and other movements The star Patterns themselves slowly change because of the relative motions of the stars but such changes are observable only over immense periods of time Some constellations are the AraAltar AriesRam aurigaCharioteer Andromeda Canas VenaticiHunting Dogs Canas Major Big Dog Canas MinorSmall Dog CapricornusSea Goat CarinaKeel CentaurusCentaur Columbadove ScorpiusScorpion Those are just a few of the many constellations up in the sky One of the 12 original constellations of the zodiac--the band of constellations that lies along the ecliptic the apparent yearly path of the sun across the sky Scorpius
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