Constellation List

Demonstrate an awareness of how the official list of constellations became established and cultural differences in this list

The list of constellations we use today was handed down by a script written by Greek astronomer Ptolemy who was born in the first century. Many of the constellations were based on mythology, mostly Greek mythology.

Constellations were added to the common list when explorers charted the southern hemisphere constellations. The list was formalised into 88 constellations by the International Astronomy Union in the 1920s.

The list does not take into account cultural references to the constellations. The Chinese, Indian and Aboriginal cultures had their own constellations. Can you find out about them?


Image New Window

Links New Window

Southern Stars
Aboriginal Astronomy

Chinese Constellations
The Four Quarters


Why do astronomers use a common set of constellations?