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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

Myths about Constellations

Constellations are formed of bright stars which appear close to each other on the sky, but are really far apart in space. The shapes you see all depend on your point of view. Many societies saw patterns among the stars with gods and goddesses or stories from their culture. Most of the constellations with which we are familiar come from ancient Greece. But other civilizations created their own patterns in the sky based on stories and people that were important to them. The stories below provide an overview of myths associated with the constellations identified by early civilizations around the world.
According to a Greek legend, the sea god Poseidon placed the figure of <a href="/the_universe/Constellations/circumpolar/cassiopeia.html">Cassiopeia</a> among the stars. It is said that Cassiopeia has a ridiculous upside-down position to punish her for having been pretentious.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of 1995 Visual Language (c). All rights reserved.</em></small></p>

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