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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.

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&edu=high">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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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA