Drawing Constellations

Recognise and draw the Plough, Orion, Cygnus and Cassiopeia

You are expected to be able to draw the following stars:

  • Ursa Major
  • Orion
  • Cygnus
  • Cassiopeia

The important things to remember are the pattern, scale and labelling important stars that make up the pattern. There is further information on each one in the next few pages and in the animation.


Ursa Major

Ursa Major is a bright constellation and is visible from the UK all year long.

Part of the constellation resembles a saucepan and is known as the Great Bear or in the USA, the Big Dipper.

It is an important constellation as the two eastern stars point to Polaris, the North Star. The second star from the west is called Mizar and if you look at it closely you can see that there are actually two stars there. The small one is called Alcor.

Don’t mistake Ursa Major for being just saucepan shaped. It has legs and a tail part as well. They aren’t obvious when you see it in cities but easy to see in the country!



Orion is best seen from the UK in autumn and winter. It resembles the outline of a human body. It is named after Orion the mythological hunter.

The Orion Nebula is visible below the central three stars called Orion's belt. The nebula is where thousands of stars are currently being born. With the naked eye it looks like a fuzzy patch.



This is a prominent constellation and contains the Super giant star, Deneb. It resembles a cross and it has been called the Northern Cross in the past.



Cassiopeia, the Queen, is quite easy to find and recognise. It is in the shape of a large 'W' and is found on the opposite side of Polaris from Ursa Major, next to Cepheus, the King.




Try to draw to scale and label any prominet stars or features


Explain how stars are labelled in a constellation