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Northern Circumpolar Constellations - Windows to the Universe

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Circumpolar stars as seen near Sisseton, SD. Big Dipper is in lower left.
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Northern Circumpolar Constellations

Because of the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the Sun, we divide the stars and constellations into two groups. Some stars and constellations never rise nor set, and they are called circumpolar. All the rest are divided into seasonal stars and constellations. Which stars and constellations will be circumpolar and which seasonal depends on your latitude. In the northern hemisphere, we will always be able to see stars and constellations in the the northern circumpolar sky, while in the southern hemisphere, we will always be able to see stars and constellations in the southern circumpolar sky.

Constellations in the northern circumpolar sky include Auriga, Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Lynx, Perseus, Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor. These constellations are always visible in the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere.

Constellations in the southern circumpolar sky include Grus, Phoenix, Indus, Tucana, Pavo, Ara, Eridanus, Hydrus, Horologium, Reticulum, Octans, Apus, Triangulum Australe, Lupus, Circinus, Musca, Crux, Centaurus, Carina, Vela, Puppis, Dorado, and Chamaeleon. These constellations are always visible in the night sky of the Southern Hemisphere.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF