Constellations

A constellation is a group of stars that appear to make a pattern in the sky.

When we look at them they look close together but in reality they are usually very far apart and not grouped together in space.

An asterism is a pattern either in a constellation such as 'The Plough' in Ursa Major or made up of brighter stars connecting constellations such as 'The Summer Triangle'..

At different times of the year we can see different constellations due to the rotation of the earth and the tilt of our axis and so some are seasonal. Some stars appear throughout the year from our position and they are called circumpolar.

Bear in mind that planets cross constellations along the ecliptic. Those constellations are known as the zodiacal constellations. Planets will change the appearance of a constellation and will on occassion transit those stars within it.

 

Interactive
Comparison of Constellation Leo with Planets Comparison of Constellation Leo with Planets
Slide to see the constellation of Leo during June 2015 near the time of a Venus and Jupiter conjunction. Image created in Stellarium.