The stars have been fascinating humanity throughout history and over countless generations. At some point in everyone’s life, they have looked up at the night sky and marveled at the beauty of the distant lights, wondering what lay far beyond. Because of its timeless nature, stargazing is a perfect activity to do on a clear night with loved ones of all ages, uniting interests in both mythology and science. In honor of Global Astronomy Month, we want to share with you a few of the many constellations that can be seen in spring, so that you too can enjoy the stars in the sky.
One of the most well-known constellations is Ursa Major, containing stars in the shape called the Big Dipper, and its relative Ursa Minor, which makes up the grouping of the Little Dipper. In Greek Mythology, Ursa Major and Minor are in fact two bears, representing a mother and a son who incurred the wrath of the goddess Hera and were immortalized together by Zeus, the king of the gods.
How to find it
The Big and Little Dippers are each composed of seven different stars, with three making up the handles and four creating the bowls. They are usually easier to find because of the squared shape of the bowl section at the end. In the spring, the Big Dipper is higher in the sky and the Little Dipper can be found by following the edge of the Big Dipper’s bowl towards the bright star named Polaris (the North Star) at the end of the Little Dipper’s handle.
Another constellation to be found in spring is Leo of the zodiac. Forming the body of a lion, Leo is part of the myth of the labors of Hercules. The first of the hero’s twelve labors was to slay a lion, and after doing so, Hercules wore its skin over his shoulder as protection.
How to find it
Leo can be located by following the bowl edge of the Big Dipper down towards the bright star Regulus in the southern part of the sky. Regulus forms the bottom of a backwards question mark - like the shape of a head and mane - and then extends away to create a triangle at the tail of the lion.
Did you know that Trilogy has its own star? Our star resides between the zodiacs of Aries and Pisces in the autumn night sky, in a small constellation called Triangle. Named in 2014, our Trilogy star is dedicated to “Out of this World Customer Service!”
If you are interested and would like to learn more about these constellations, or any others visible during different times of the year, check out these links below.
And if you’re a resident in any of our campuses and would like to know more about the starts in our sky, ask a staff member about having an astrology class on a clear night. We’re up for anything!