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Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.
This is a picture of what ancient people thought the constellation Leo looked like.
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Image: (c)1995 Visual Language, All Rights Reserved

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.

Many peoples noticed that the planets, the moon, and comets moved through the sky in a different way than the stars.

Because of the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the Sun, we divide the constellations into two groups. Some constellations never rise nor set, and they are called circumpolar. All the rest are divided into seasonal constellations. Which constellations will be circumpolar and which seasonal depends on your latitude.

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The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, available in our online store, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.

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