All 88 Constellations: Names, Myths & Explanations

All About Constellations and Constellation Names along with Their Meaning by Starnamingservice.com

We all love to gaze the night sky and admire those stars that usually form some familiar
shapes of animals and other objects. But, did you know that these shapes have their own
names and character? Here is a small guide that explains everything about all
constellations and their names – along with their meaning.

constellation names

Many constellations & their names

What are Constellations?

Constellations are the group of stars that are known to create an imaginary shape or outlines or
meaningful patterns on the celestial sphere. This group of stars usually represents
mythological gods or people and animals, creatures and other manufactured devices. There
are total 88 modern constellations that define the region of the celestial sphere together and
cover the sky. Below is the list of Constellations & Constellation Names along with its
meaning.

A List of all Constellations

Andromeda or the Royal Sea Monster Bait

Andromeda is the name of the Cepheus’s and Cassiopeia’s daughter in the Greek mythology. To appease the gods, she was chained by their parents and fed to the sea monster called Cetus, but she was later rescued by the Perseus.

Antlia Pneumatic or Air Pump

Antlia: This is the name that is created by French Astronomer called Nicolas Louis de Lacaille and this is an unusual name that is used to honor the French physicist Denis Papin’s invention called the Air Pump.

Apus or the Bird of Paradise

Apus represents a bird of paradise, and the meaning of this constellation is “no feet” in Greek which refers to the western misconception of a bird of paradise which is lacking in feet. It was created and named by Dutch Astronomer Petrus Plancius in the 16th century.

Aquarius or the Water Bearer

As the name suggests, this constellation represents the water carrier of gods. Aquarius is the handsome body in ancient Greece. Zeus became enthralled with Aquarius and converted into an eagle and seized a body.

Aquila or the Thunderbolt Eagle

Aquila is the constellation that represents a thunderbolt eagle that helped Zeus, but the actual meaning of this constellation is linked with a legendary eagle that abducted the boy Aquarius

Ara or the Altar                 

Ara is the altar where the Greek Gods created a pact before entering the battle with Titans. It was lead by Zeus who was the overpowered god of Titans and won the legendary war. Zeus placed an altar in the Sky, and this is the Milky Way that represents the smoke rising from the Ara.

Aries or Ram

Aries is the renowned and legendry Ram with the golden fleeces and yielding wings, and Nephele sent him in a bid to rescue her son who was given a false prophecy by his father, and she required to sacrifice her son in a bid to ward off famine. Phrixus and his sister climbed on Ram, and they were carried towards Colchis on the share of the black sea.

Auriga or the Charioteer

Auriga was the son of Athena, and he was the charioteer of gods. He was skilled and created in the image of Sun God’s chariot. He also invented the four-horse chariot.

Bootes or the Herdsman

This is one of the ancient Greek Constellations, and the meaning of this constellation os oxen driver and Bootes is identified as plowman who drove oxen that is represented by Ursa Major.

Caelum or the Chisel

Caelum: This is the constellation that is named by the French Astronomer Nicolas Lous de Lacaille, and the meaning of this constellation is engraver’s chisel in Latin

Camelopardalis or Giraffe

Camelopardalis: This is the Latin word which means Giraffe, and it is the combination of Greek Words for leopard and camel. The Greek come forth with this name because the Giraffe reminds them of camel because of this long neck and has spots like a leopard.

Cancer or the Crab

Cancer is the crab which was sent to distract Heracles in the battling field of ancient Hydra or snake. This is the battle that was of Heracles 12 labors. But the crab was kicked so hard that it flew into the skies that form the infamous constellation that we know today.

Canes Venatici or the Hunting Dogs

Canes Venatici: This is the constellation that was created by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in the 17th Century, and this constellation represents tow hunting dogs which were led by the Bootes which is the Herdsman following the Ursa Major.

Canis Major or the Big Dog

Canis Major was the big dog, and this constellation follows the legendary hunter Orion. Orion hunts the rabbit Lepus.

Canis Minor or the Small Dog

Canis Minor: As the name suggests, it is the small dog that follows the Orion and hunts for the rabbit. The small dog, unfortunately, jumped off the cliff in despair over owner’s death.

Capricornus or the Sea Goat

Capricornus: The meaning of this constellation is the goat that represents the forest god, and it is known for its two horns and legs that are like goats. This constellation claims that goat tended to the infant god, the Zeus.

Carina or the Keel of Argo Navis

Carina was the three pieces of the ship which was used by the Argonauts and Jason to obtain the Golden Fleece. This constellation represents the ship’s keel

Cassiopeia or the Vain Queen

Queen Cassiopeia was the royal wife of Cepheus and also the mother of Andromeda, and she claims that she was the most beautiful queen of her time. Poseidon sends a sea monster to kill her, and when Cepheus asked for help, he was asked to sacrifice his daughter to the monster. So, he chained her daughter to rock, but Perseus rescued her.

Centaurus or Centaur

Centaurus: This is the constellation that represents half men and half horse, and this is the ancient mythological creature, and he was the beast that was mentored by the Ancient gods like Heracles and Jason.

Cepheus or the King

Cepheus: This is the constellation that represents the husband of Cassiopeia who chained and left her daughter to be eaten by a sea monster

Cetus or the Whale

Cetus is the constellation that represents the sea monster sent by king and queen to eat the daughter of kind Cepheus.

Chamaeleon

Chamaeleon: This is the constellation that is named after the color changing lizard the chameleon

Circinus or Compass

Circinus: This is the constellation named after the drafting tool to draw circles or to measure the distances

Columba or the Dove

Columba is the dove that informed Noah about the receding biblical flood

Coma Berenices or the Berenice’s Hair

Coma Berenices is the constellation that was named after Queen Berenice II of Egypt. She swore to Aphrodite that if the goddess brought back her husband, then she would cut off her long blonde hair. Upon safely return to her husband she fulfilled her promise.

Corona Australis or the Southern Crown

Corona Australis: This is one of the Greek Constellations which is not seen as a crown by the Greek, but as a wreath linked with centaur represented by Sagittarius constellation.

Corona Borealis or Northern Crown

Corona Borealis represent the crown worn by the Cretan princess Ariadne at her weeding.

Corvus or the Raven

Corvus: This is the constellation that represents a crow that was the sacrificed bird of the god, Apollo.

Crater or the Cup

Crater represents the cup of god Apollo, and this cup envisioned as the Chalice with the two handles.

Crux or Southern Cross

Crux: It is often seen in different lights across the diverse cultures, and this cross represents biblical importance showcasing Jesus crucifixion.

Cygnus or the Swan

Cygnus represents the Spartan Queen Leda that gave birth to two sets of twins in the form of swan and Zeus seduced Leda

Delphinus or Dolphin

Delphinus was the messenger of Poseidon that helped him ultimately to get back his future wife, Amphitrite

Dorado of the Fish

Dorado constellation was named after a Dolphin like fish by the Dutch explorer in 1500s

Draco or the Dragon

Draco is the constellation that is named after London that was a hundred-headed dragon protecting the garden of Hesperides. He was slashed by poison arrows by 12 labors of Heracles

Equuleus or Little Horse

Equuleus is the constellation that represents the Hippe, the daughter of a centaur, Chiron. Aeolus seduced her and she became pregnant. Since she was afraid to share the news with her father, Hippe thought to hide in the mountains.

Eridanus or River

Eridanus is the constellation name that is derived from Ancient Greek river Po in Italy, and the name of this constellation is linked with the story of Phaeton, the Sun God Helios who begged his father to drive the chariot across the sky.

Fornax or the Furnace

Fornax: This constellation was named after the chemical furnace used in chemical equipment.

Gemini or Twins

Gemini: This constellation was named after the immortal mythological twins who are fathered by Pollux, Castor, and Apollo.

Grus or Crane

Grus is the constellation in the shape of a crane, and it is named after the exotic animal was discovered by a Dutch explorer in East Indies

Hercules or the Strong Main

Hercules: This is the constellation that was named after the legendary strong man and hero of Greek mythology. It is one of the oldest constellations in the night sky

Horologium or the Pendulum Clock

Horologium: This is another constellation that was named by the French Astronomer Lacaille, and this constellation honors the Christian Huygen’s invention of pendulum click

Hydra or the Water Serpent

Hydra is the largest constellation of all 88, and the constellation is named after Lernaean Hydra that was the largest mythological monster from Heracles 12 labors.

Hydrus or the Water Snake

Hydrus has no formal connection with ancient mythologies. It was coined by Dutch explorer, and it represents the water snake

Indus or Indian

Indus: This constellation represents the people that were met during the East Indies journeys. It was also coined by the Dutch explorer in 1500s.

Lacerta or the Lizard

Lacerta: This is not associated with any mythologies, and it was named by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius

Leo or Lion

Leo: This constellation represents the Nemean Lion of the Greek mythology that slain by the Heracles

Leo Minor or the Little Lion

Leo Minor: This constellation was also named by Polish Astronomer Johannes in 1600s, and it holds no connection with any mythologies

Lepus or the Hare or Rabbit

Lepus is the rabbit or the hare that was chased by Orion who was a great hunter.

Libra or the Scales

Libra: This constellation means the weighing scales, and it represents the scales of justice held by a dike that Greek goddess of justice

Lupus or the Wolf

Lupus was named in the 2nd century by Ptolemy, and it is associated with a wolf until the renaissance period

Lynx

This is another constellation named by the Polish astronomer Hevelius, and it is named after Lynx

Lyra or the Harp

Representing the harp of Orpheus, Lyra was the Greek poet and musician that died at the hands of bacchantes

Mensa or Table Mountain

Mensa: This is the Latin word that means Table, and it was named by French astronomer Lacaille while mapping the skies in South Africa

Microscopium or the Microscope

Microscopium: This is another constellation that is named by French Astronomer Lacaille, and it represents the microscope used in science

Monoceros or Unicorn

Monoceros: This is the Latin term that depicts the mythological horse with a single majestic horn. It is named by Dutch Astronomer after the name unicorn appearing several times in Old Testament of Bible.

Musca or the Fly

Musca depicts the common fly named by a Dutch explorer in 1500s

Norma or the Level

Norma: It was named in 17th Centaury by the French astronomer Lacaille, and it represents carpenter’s square or level that is used by carpenters.

Octans or the Octant

Octans: This is the constellation that represents the reflecting octant which is the predecessor of modern sextant for exploration and navigation

Ophiuchus or the Serpent Holder

Ophiuchus is the constellation that represents the legendary Greek mythology healer, Asclepius

Orion or the Hunter

Orion is the son of the Sea God, Poseidon and he was the great Greek Hunter

Pavo or Peacock

Pavo is the constellation that depicts the Hava Green Peacock which was seen by Dutch explorers

Pegasus or the Winged Horse

Pegasus is the majestic winged horse that belong to Greek mythology and this horse is believed to sprung from head of Medusa when she was beheaded by Perseus

Perseus or the Greek Hero

In the 2nd Century, Perseus was the true Greek Hero and this hero has 6 constellations linked with hi legend

Phoenix or the Firebird

Sacred to several mythologies cultures, Phoenix represents the Firebird which was introduced by Dutch explorers

Pictor or the Painter’s Ease

Pictor: This is the Latin term for Painter and it was named by the French Astronomer in 17th Century

Pisces or the Fishes

Pisces: This is the zodiac constellation that represents Aphrodite and son, Eros turning into fish so as to escape the monster

Piscis Austrinus or Southern Fish

Piscis Austrinus date back to the Babylonian times and in Greek mythology, this is the fish often seen drinking water of Aquarius

Puppis or the Stern of Argo Navis

Puppis: This is the named after the Argonauts vessel, Argo Navis which sailed aborad to retrieve the Golden Fleece

Pyxis or the Compass

Pyxis: This constellation represent the mariner’s compass and it is named in 17th century by Lacaille

Reticulum or the Reticle

Reticulum: This is the constellation that is named for reticle piece of telescope or microscope eyepiece. It is named by the French astronomer Lacaille to honour the reticle of his telescope.

Sagitta or the Arrow

Sagitta depicts the Greek mythology arrow that was used by the Heracles to slay the eagle chewing the liver of Prometheus

Sagittarius or Archer

Sagittarius: This is the constellation that represents the Centaur aiming the arrow on Antares which is the star of Scorpion’s heart.

Scorpius or the Scorpion

Scorpius: The scorpion represents the deadly scorpion that killed the Orion, the hunter. It is believed that Orion always run from the scorpion and hence they were not seen together in the sky

Sculptor or the Sculptor

Sculptor: This is the constellation that represents the sculptor studio, and it is named by the French astronomer Lacaille in 1700s

Scutum or the Shield

Scutum: This is the constellation that is named by the Hevelius in 1600s, and this represents the shield of Polish King Jan III that was worn in the victories battle of Vienna in 1683.

Serpens or Serpent

Serpens is the constellation that represents a snake which was held by Asclepius, the renowned Greek Healer that depicts the constellation Ophiuchus

Sextans or the Sextant

Sextans: This constellation was named by the Polish astronomer Hevelius, and it is named after the sextant that is used to measure the exact positioning of stars

Taurus or the Bull

Taurus: This is another popular ancient constellation that date backs to the 2nd century, and according to Greek mythology Zeus used the bull to seduce and abduct Europa, the daughter of Phoenician King Agenor

Telescopium or the Telescope

Telescopium: Lacaille named this constellation, and it is named after the instrument or tools of the time. It depicts a type of refractor telescope

Triangulum or the Triangle

Triangulum: This is another ancient constellation from Ptolemy in the 2nd century, and it depicts the triangle because of its geometric visual shape and size.

Triangulum Australe or Southern Triangle

Triangulum Australe: This is the constellation named by the Dutch astronomer Plancius and this not linked to any mythologies. However, it represents triangular configurations that are seen in the night skies

Tucana or the Toucan

Tucana: This is the exotic constellation that represents the bird usually seen in the 16th century in the journeys of Dutch explorers

Ursa Major or Big Bear

Ursa Major is the oldest ancient constellation which is the big bear that is widely popular in all major cultures and mythologies. According to the Greek mythology, Zeus fall in love with Callisto who was the fairy and to stop Zeus from her wife Hera turn the fairy into a bear called Ursa Major

Ursa Minor or the Small Bear

The Ursa Minor represents the Arcas who was the son of Zeus and the fairy Callisto, the lover of Zeus. Both the characters morphed into a bear which was hiding in the sky protected from Zeus wife Hera who was jealous of them

Vela or the Sails of Argo Navis

Vela is one of the three constellations that create the form of Argonaut’s sailing vessel, Argo Navi and Vela is the ship’s sails.

Virgo or the Young Maiden

Virgo is the oldest Greek Constellation that is linked with Dike the Greek Goddess of Justice, and it depicts the majestic wings that hold the scales of justice that you will see in the constellation of Libra.

Volans or the Flying Fish

Volans is the constellation that represents the flying fish which is the type of fish that is usually found in the tropical waters, and this fish can jump out of the water and also glide through the air. This is a southern constellation which was introduced by the Dutch navigators in the 16th century.

Vulpecula or The Little Fox

This is the ancient constellation that was created and also named by the Johannes Hevelius, the renowned Polish astronomer. It was created in the 17th century, and it depicts the little fox which holds the goose in its jaws. This constellation was originally named as Vulpecula et Anser, and the meaning of this Latin term is the little fox with a goose. According to the astronomer, it is the constellation that represents a little fox carrying a goose to Cerberus who was the dog guarding the entrance to Underworld in Greek Mythology.

These are the all 88 Constellations & Constellation Names along with its meaning. For more and in-depth details of these constellations kindly refer the online sources. All the constellations were covered in this post along with its meaning to help you understand the constellation better.

 

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