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When we arrange the stars into constellations it helps us to map the sky
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The Unchanging Sky

The unvarying aspect of the relationships of the stars' positions may have suggested to the ancients something that was analogous to their beliefs about the universe. It is not surprising that they chose to express their beliefs metaphorically, believing that groups of stars, constellations, and moving planets were associated with their deeply held stories of the creation, sustenance, and destruction of the universe. Human beings, even now, use metaphor to express deeply held beliefs, in the poetry and art of societies.

In more modern times some of the ancient designations for star arrangements have remained, giving us a flavor of what the world felt like when the sky was "closer". The names, positions and groupings of stars help us to give order to the sky in our minds.

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Science, Evolution, and Creationism

How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more

Andromeda

The fall constellation Andromeda is a Princess. She looks like a "V"! Andromeda is close to the north pole, so only a few people in the Southern Hemisphere can see it in the spring. Andromeda's parents...more

Aquarius

Aquarius is also known as the Waterbearer. There are several myths about this constellation. In Greek mythology, Aquarius was the young boy, Ganymede. Zeus sent Aquila to kidnap Ganymede. The boy became...more

Cancer

The constellation Cancer is a crab. Look for Cancer from December through June. It's hard to see Cancer because the stars are so dim. To find Cancer, first find Gemini and Leo. Cancer is right between...more

Canis Major

Canis Major is known as the Great Dog. In Greek myth, it is one of Orion's hunting dogs. Many cultures saw the shape of a dog in this constellation. Sirius is the brightest star in the sky. It is also...more

Capricornus

The constellation Capricornus is a goat. Many years ago, people thought this constellation was a gate to the Heavens. Souls would go through it after a person died. The Greeks thought it was a sea-goat....more

Cetus

The constellation Cetus is known as The Sea Monster! It is a very large constellation. The Greeks thought the figure was the monster that tried to eat Andromeda. Perseus saved Andromeda and married her....more

The Unchanging Sky

The unvarying aspect of the relationships of the stars' positions may have suggested to the ancients something that was analogous to their beliefs about the universe. It is not surprising that they chose...more

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