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what is your favorite constellation and why?

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#26 SeaBee1

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 10:25 AM

As I read through the responses, I hesitated to add mine... my favorite constellation seems to be the majority favorite... and I so hate to be like everyone else... but it is not to be avoided... Orion, hands down. First real scope 3 years ago, and what do I see from my back yard? Orion! I mean, it just stood out... and I had to look it up to find out its name... more research revealed there was a nebula in there... Holy Smoke! Man, what a sight! And then I saw the Trapezium! How cool is that!

 

Ok 'nuff of that... well one more thing... when the weather here clears, I will be looking... at Orion!

 

Good hunting!

 

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#27 Keith Rivich

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 10:44 AM

Argo Navis. It’s one of the most target rich and brightest patches in the sky.

That's cheating! The Argo was sunk in 1930 with a torpedo fired by the IAU...


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#28 Cotts

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 10:51 AM

Camelopardalis.  Because only I can find it!   whee.gif

 

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#29 birger

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 10:56 AM

Cassiopeia. I have always loved it, and it is the first constellation I look for when I'm out observing. It reaches zenith from my latitude. It is really pretty with the Double Cluster beside it. I also have two stars located in Cassiopeia (mag. 5.74 and 5.94 respectively) that I use for estimating the limiting magnitude.

 

While Cassiopeia is my number 1 favorite, I also really like Orion of course, and Scorpius (although I can only see the northern top of it from my location).


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#30 Keith Rivich

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 11:00 AM

My favorite is Camelopardalis...because it's hard to see, hard to spell and no one else is going to pick it!

 

Edit:

I see Dave already picked it...and spelled it correctly. That teaches me to not jump to the end of a thread smile.gif


Edited by Keith Rivich, 28 November 2019 - 12:03 PM.

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#31 Carol L

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 11:20 AM

Sagittarius, along with the 'teapot steam' running upwards through Scutum into Aquila.

Such a lovely area to cruise through, using any size telescope or binoculars. heart.png  


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#32 Keith Rivich

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 12:18 PM

A lot of folks pick Orion but I do not. While M42 is probably my favorite DSO the constellation itself is not overly rich in diverse objects. My nod goes to either Ophiuchus or Cygnus. Really big constellations with representatives from all classes of DSO's.

 

Here is a count of DSO's by type in each of the constellations with the parameter that I can view these in my 25" under dark skies:

 

          Galactic        Extra Galactic

 

Orion:    209                  3597

Oph       628                  6030

Cyg       576                  3945


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#33 Keith Rivich

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 12:22 PM

Ursa Major, ‘cause my name Bjorn means Bear.

So since my mother pointed it out to me as a small kid, that has been “my” constellation. 

Good thing your folks didn't name you Ræv, not much to look at in Vulpecula!


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#34 Araguaia

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 01:45 PM

Centaurus, for its abundance of bright showpieces and dimmer interesting objects.  I spend whole sessions on Centaurus and embedded Crux.


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#35 bumm

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 02:35 PM

I saw this thread yesterday, and while I didn't click on it, it's been rattling around in my head ever since.  It seems like I oughta have a favorite, but I struggled to decide on it.  I've been friendly with the night sky for a long time.  The earliest asterism I knew was the Big Dipper, so there's Ursa Major.  But the earliest constellation I learned was Orion, which is probably the brightest, most recognizable one, and I've seen it up, bright in the south, every clear Christmas midnight for more than 50 years.  Nice, but not really "favorite."  Maybe I'm drawn to Taurus, since it's depiction on the cave wall at Lascaux is the only astronomical cave art that I find convincing... a direct astronomical postcard from 18,000 years ago.  But it's not really "favorite."  Sagittarius and Scorpius are an astronomical playground, crowded with wonderful deep sky objects.  But then, I can't go out on a clear night when Perseus and Andromeda are up that I don't seek out the two tadpoley outlines of the Arabic fishes, each with a DSO for a tail.  I can't really see a distinct pattern in Vulpecula, but I still remember the excitement once of seeing the Skalnate Pleso chart of that strangely named constellation in Walter Scott Houston's Deep Sky Wonders column...  I had to go out and see that, and somehow it's still special to me.

     I guess that for me, the entire night sky wraps together in an impossibly jumbled, ancient, beautiful, whole.  Even if Lacerta dropped out, with it's tiny "Cassiopeia with a box on one end," the rest of the sky would be diminished.  I must have a favorite, but it probably keeps shifting...

                                                                                                                                         Marty


Edited by bumm, 28 November 2019 - 02:41 PM.

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#36 Mountaineer370

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 08:52 AM

Number one for me is Scorpius, even though, from my latitude, coupled with tall trees blocking my view to the south, I can't really see the whole thing from my home.  Antares is always twinkling and beckoning me, though.  There is a lot to see within the constellation:  DSOs, doubles.  I always find it a special treat to be somewhere away from home or on a trip to a more southerly state where I can see the whole constellation in all its glory.

 

Two would have to be the Big Dipper asterism.  It has always been a favorite for me, since childhood.  It was probably the first one I learned.  I like how it's faithfully there to be seen every night of the year (though, again, not always from my house).  I will never forget being in northern Michigan one October and standing at the shore of a small, quiet lake and seeing every star from the Big Dipper reflected in the water, though, curiously, no other stars at that time, even though the sky was filled with visible stars.  I can't explain it, but it was magical.

 

My third place would be Orion.  Huge, gallant, protective, comforting as he watches over us.


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#37 NYJohn S

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 10:31 AM

It's really hard for me to pick a favorite because each marks the return of a season with new observing opportunities. It's tough to beat Orion with that unmistakable kite shape shining bright in the winter sky but I get equally excited to see the return of Canis Major with Sirius blazing away and Wezen with that loop of stars circling around it. I really enjoy observing that part of the sky. M41, NGC 2362, NGC 2359 - Thor's Helmet, HR 2764 -the Winter Alberio and nearby M46 & M47 in Puppis. 

 

Naked eye when I step outside I'm also drawn to Perseus and the curving line of stars from the misty patch of Melotte 20 all the way down to the mini dipper shape of M45.

 

Ask again in Spring and I'll have a different favorite smile.gif


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#38 jpcampbell

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 12:22 PM

Like most who have commented, it's Orion for me, hands down. Yet I wonder if those of us who choose Orion as a favourite are living in areas of heavy light pollution, because it's probably the only constellation that is clearly visible in light polluted skies. Not just a few of the stars, but all of them or mostly all of them.

 

This past summer I had two trips to dark skies, but had bad luck with the weather. On one of those nights the sky cleared for a spell and I was able to take in Cassiopeia in binoculars. Wow. It seemed like one big open cluster! Gorgeous! Loved it, and was sad to discover that due to the limits I have viewing from my city balcony location, I won't be able to see those open clusters through a telescope this year.

 

The sky I've got right now is terribly dim, so I can't wait for Taurus, Orion, and Canis Major.


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#39 chrysalis

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 12:37 PM

Of course all of the ones mentioned previously are favorites of mine, but ... (cue the back-to-the-past harp sound...)

 

I had learned a lot of the constellations as a 6 or 7 year old with a phosphorescent screen over which you laid a card with cut-out holes of stars, shined a flashlight a few seconds in the dark, and voila' !  Instant constellation! I used to get in trouble many nights after I was put to bed for playing with these constellation cards when I should have been sleeping.

 

But so many constellations, like ones NOT mentioned previously, were not included. (Set the flash-forward harp to 10 years and cue...)

 

As a teen, I was SERIOUSLY into astronomy. Learning everything I possibly could, walking the three miles to the library and back (alas, no internet in in the late 60s.)

 

I acquired an old pair of opera glasses, really just 2 or 3X binoculars with 25 mm or so lenses. And in the spring sky I discovered Corvus. And in the summer sky, I discovered Delphinus, which just fit neatly into the field of view.

 

So while all of the flashier, brighter, more conspicuous constellations are favorites, those two constellations, Corvus and Delphinus, still have a special place in my heart :) .


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#40 Space Ant

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 01:01 PM

Orion, mainly because it was the first constellation I learned, and because seeing m42 through my dob made me absolutely certain that astronomy would be my hobby of choice. 


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#41 jpcampbell

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 04:23 PM

And in the spring sky I discovered Corvus. And in the summer sky, I discovered Delphinus, which just fit neatly into the field of view.

 

So while all of the flashier, brighter, more conspicuous constellations are favorites, those two constellations, Corvus and Delphinus, still have a special place in my heart smile.gif .

Funny, I was going to mention Corvus....I don't know what it is, but it has a special place in my heart too! After the splendours of Orion and Canis Major, I struggled as I was going from very bright to dim quickly, but I was able to spot Corvus and developed a liking for it. I always knew it was going to be a good night if I could spot Eta with my eyes, and knew conditions were deteriorating if I couldn't. I had only been observing for a couple of months at the time, and I remember trying to get the Sombrero in my 6SE under a light polluted sky (ha!), and I knew I was in the right place - close but no Sombrero. But woah! What's this little grouping of stars? Very nice....turns out it was the "Stargate", or "dualing triangles of Corvus" (Star Splitters blog), and while I couldn't see the faint C component (m=11.46), I liked this little asterism and looked it up the next day. I returned to the "Stargate" almost every observing night after that, until I said goodbye to Corvus for the year in mid spring.

 

Corvus was where I learned the naked eye limiting magnitude and telescope limiting magnitude for my location. Maybe that's why it holds a special place in my heart. Oh, and I'm fascinated by Corvids!


Edited by jpcampbell, 29 November 2019 - 04:25 PM.

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#42 Tony Flanders

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 05:52 PM

For me, a constellation is first and foremost the pattern made by its brightest stars. I do also appreciate the deep-sky treasures contained within, but they're more like frosting than cake.

 

By that standard, I'd have to say that Orion is in a class of its own. Those seven bright stars really hang together as a recognizable group; it's hard to imagine any culture that wouldn't see them as a whole, or as part of a whole. And they really do remind me of a human being; I think I would have come to that interpretation even if I hadn't known about it before. I can't say that about any other constellation, though Scorpius comes pretty close. Leo makes a perfectly plausible lion, but would be an equally plausible pony or dog.

 

Orion's Belt is also unique; it is by far the most prominent star triplet in the sky. Think about it. Nowhere else in the sky are three stars that bright in such close proximity -- not even close. And they're in an almost straight, evenly spaced line, to boot.

 

And then, Orion does have one or two decent deep-sky objects. smile.gif

 

Carina has much better deep-sky objects, but its star pattern doesn't even come close to Orion's.

 

Scorpius rates right behind Orion in terms of star pattern, and extremely high up in the DSO department.

 

The Teapot has a fine star pattern; I'm not sure I'd say the same for Sagittarius overall. And yeah, it's got one or two decent deep-sky objects as well. flowerred.gif  Oh, and then there's Cassiopeia. And Perseus. And Cygnus. And .... oh never mind.


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#43 jpcampbell

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 05:29 PM

Very well said, Tony. Kind of says it all. And, it's visible at some point in the year from everywhere in the world.


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#44 Tony Flanders

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 06:40 AM

Very well said, Tony. Kind of says it all. And, it's visible at some point in the year from everywhere in the world.

Right. Orion is the equal-opportunity constellation, with no bias toward either hemisphere. Bisected by the celestial equator, the 7-star pattern is visible from every inhabited place on Earth with the exception of a few military and scientific outposts.


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#45 Xilman

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 07:39 AM

Andromeda.

 

Full of fascinating doubles and variables, of which an entire class of CVs is named after the prototype Z And. The showpiece, though, is M31.  It's close enough to be resolved into stars, open clusters, emission nebulae, dark nebulae (the dust lanes) and globular clusters with almost any kind of imaging gear.  Amateurs discover novae in M31 several times a year. Throw in the satellite galaxies and you have almost everything but double stars and planetaries --- and even the last can be found by  plugging a low-dispersion spectroscope into a 0.4m-class scope.

 

Visually, those with 0.4m and larger apertures can estimate variables in the galaxy proper (AE And and AF And are the easiest) and pick up a few of the brighter globulars.

 

Triangulum comes a close second for exactly the same reasons given above.

 

I wish I lived far enough south to see the LMC and SMC.


Edited by Xilman, 01 December 2019 - 08:47 AM.

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#46 Xilman

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 07:47 AM

Of course all of the ones mentioned previously are favorites of mine, but ... (cue the back-to-the-past harp sound...)

 

I acquired an old pair of opera glasses, really just 2 or 3X binoculars with 25 mm or so lenses. And in the spring sky I discovered Corvus. And in the summer sky, I discovered Delphinus, which just fit neatly into the field of view.

 

So while all of the flashier, brighter, more conspicuous constellations are favorites, those two constellations, Corvus and Delphinus, still have a special place in my heart smile.gif .

δ Corvi is an absolutely beautiful triple star.



#47 2696

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 07:50 AM

Much like most of you, Orion is one of my favorites. It demands to be noticed when it's high up in the sky. My favorite though, is between Lyra and Cassiopeia.

I love Lyra because Vega is my favorite star, it's one that you can see the easiest, and the first one you see as the Sun is setting. M57 is also one of my favorite things to observe so that's also why I like Lyra so much. Along with Cassiopeia, it's just so noticeable and there's so much to see in and around there.. Also, the Owl Cluster is one of my favorite things to observe too.
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#48 tchandler

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 07:53 AM

This is a little like asking who’s your favourite child. You probably have one, depending on the day, but few want to admit it or share this information.
 

It’s funny, I have a favourite tree species (Ulmus Americana) a favourite star (Arcturus), even my father had a favourite star (Fomalhaut), and I even have a favourite wildflower (Blanket flower) and favourite insect (ladybug; just love those little creepie-crawlies).

 

But constellation? My affection for constellations shifts like the weather. Scorpius was my favourite when I watched it rise tail first from 53 degrees south latitude. Taurus was my favourite when the moon occulted Aldebaran one night. Ursa Major was first when I watched it hang upside down over a mountain in Peru. Tucana was first, when from a large tree climbed (to view where it was in the sky) in the predawn hours in northern Chile allowed me to see it for the first time and bring the total number of observed constellations to 88. Even Circinus was first one night when I captured this little firefly in a bottle one night. Canis Major was first when from a beach on the Tropic of Capricorn it materialized one evening directly overhead. 
 

But if I had to choose, one that is often most my favourite, I’d likely opt for Bootes - home to Arcturus. It’s diamond shape resembles an old fashioned kite sailing high. Seeing it again in March each year is an unmistakable sign of summer to come. What’s not to like about that?


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#49 Tony Flanders

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 11:37 AM

It’s funny, I have a favourite tree species ...

But constellation? My affection for constellations shifts like the weather.

I think that part of the problem is that constellations don't exist in isolation. Orion is magnificent, but it would be far less of a constellation without the Pleiades and Hyades luring it on and the Great Dog nipping at its heels. To say nothing of Scorpius, on the opposite side of the sky, ducking below the horizon to avoid Orion.

Although I do love constellations, my real passion is for the night sky as a whole. No, make that the sky as a whole. The Sun is arguably the greatest astronomical object of all, and even clouds often enhance the sky's beauty dramatically.


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#50 asterope62

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 07:35 PM

Virgo,  I love seeing countless galaxies in a wide field eyepiece. 


Edited by asterope62, 01 December 2019 - 10:24 PM.

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