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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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Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia was the wife of King Cepheus. She was very pretty, and would often boast that she and her daughter were more beautiful than the sea nymphs, the Nereids. They complained to Poseidon, who unleashed...more

King Cepheus

Cepheus is one of the oldest constellations in the night sky. He is a circumpolar constellation, circling around the North Star all year long. This house-shaped constellation is named after an ancient...more

Draco the Dragon

Draco the dragon is a circumpolar constellation, which means it revolves around the celestial North Pole. It can be seen all year round. Draco can is only present in the Northern Hemisphere, so those...more

Ursa Minor (Little Bear)

Ursa Minor, also called the Little Dipper, is a circumpolar constellation. This means it never sets in the northern sky. The true figure represented by the stars is the Little Bear. Its counterpart is...more

Crux - The Southern Cross

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you must be south of latitude 30 degrees to begin observing Crux, one of the smallest, but most easily recognized constellations in the sky. Crux lies along the...more

Centaurus - The Centaur

Below the stars of Hydra, the sea serpent, and Scorpius, the acorpion, you can find the half-man, half-horse creature, Centaurus. He faces east holding a lance-like pole which he is using to kill Lupus,...more

Carina

The constellation Carina is known as the Keel, which is the bottom part of old ships. Carina was originally a part of Argo Navis, which was a huge boat in the night sky. It has since been divided into...more

Constellations

Many cultures have seen distinctive patterns, called constellations, formed by the stars in the heavens. Constellations are usually comprised of bright stars which appear close to each other on the sky,...more

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