Question 1 What is a constellation? Name few constellations?
Question 2 Name the constellation which appear to have the shape of a big bear, a distorted W or M, a hunter or a big lion?
Question 3 What is the number of prominent stars in Ursa Major constellation? Draw a diagram to show the position of main stars in it?
Question 4 What is the number of prominent stars in Orion constellation? Draw a diagram to show the position of main stars in it?
Question 5 What is the number of prominent stars in Cassiopeia constellation? Draw a diagram to show the position of main stars in it?
Question 6 What is the number of prominent stars in Leo Major constellation? Draw a diagram to show the position of main stars in it?
Question 7 Explain how you can locate the Pole star with the help of Ursa Major constellation?
Question 8 Explain how the position of Sirius star can be located in the night sky with the help of Orion constellation?
Some of the stars are arranged in groups or patterns. These groups of stars appear to form some recognisable shapes and patterns.
The group of stars which appears to form some recognisable shape or pattern is known as a constellation.
About 88 constellations are known at present. Each constellation has been given a name signifying an animal, a human being or some other object which it appears to resemble. All the constellations appear to move in the sky from east to west. This is because the Earth rotates on its axis from west to east. Some of the important constellations are
(1) Ursa Major
(3) Leo Major
A constellation consists of a group of a large number of stars, some of which are bright and can be seen easily with the naked eye whereas others are dim and seen with difficulty.
Ursa Major Constellation
Ursa Major constellation is also known as Great Bear, Big Bear, Big Dipper or Plough. The Indian name of Ursa Major constellation is Saptarishi.
Though Ursa Major constellation is a group of many stars but seven of its stars are quite bright and can be seen easily.
The Ursa Major constellation consists of seven bright star which are arranged in a pattern resembling somewhat a big bear.
A lot of fertile imagination is required to make out some recognizable shape from a group of stars. The Ursa Major is called ‘Great Bear’ because its stars are arranged in such a way that they seem to form the outline of the body of a Great Bear (or Big Bear)
The Ursa Major is also called Big Dipper because it resembles a dipper (a bowl with a handle), which was used to drink water in olden days. The Ursa major constellation also resembles a big kite with a tail, a big laddle (a big spoon with a cup-shaped bowl), or a big question mark in the night sky.
The Ursa Major constellation is visible during the summer season in the early part of the night. It can be seen clearly in the month of April in the northern part of sky at night. In Ursa Major constellation there are two pointer stars because the line joining them points to the direction of Pole Star.
If we observe the Ursa Major constellation at different times in the night, we will find that it appears to move from east to west. Since the Pole Star remains fixed in the night sky, therefore, the Ursa Major constellation appears to revolve around the Pole Star in the night sky.
Orion is also bright stars in Orion known as Hunter. The Indian name of Orion is Mriga.
The Orion constellation consists of seven or eight bright stars (and several faint stars). Thus, the Orion constellation can be drawn either with seven stars or with eight stars.
The arrangement of stars in Orion constellation is supposed to resemble a ‘hunter’ in the kneeling position.
(1) The star marked 1 represents the head of the hunter.
(2) The stars marked 2 and 3 are supposed to form the shoulders of the hunter whereas the stars marked 7 and 8 are imagined to form feet of the hunter.
(3) The three stars in the middle marked 4, 5 and 6 represent the belt of the hunter.
(4) The arms and weapons of the hunter are formed from some other faint stars which are not shown.
The Orion constellation is visible in the sky during the winter season in the late evenings.
The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius. The brightest star called ‘Sirius’ is located close to the Orion constellation. We can locate the position of Sirius Star in the night sky with the help of Orion constellation. In order to locate Sirius, imagine a straight line passing through the three middle stars of Orion constellation in the night sky. Look along this line towards the east direction in the sky. This imaginary line will lead us to a very bright star. This very bright star is Sirius.
Cassiopeia constellation consists of 5 main stars. The 5 main stars of Cassiopeia constellation are arranged to form the shape of distorted letter W or M (depending on the position of Cassiopeia constellation in the sky). The Cassiopeia constellation is thought to represent an ancient Queen named Cassiopeia seated on a chair. Cassiopeia constellation is visible during winter in the early part of the night.
Leo Major Constellation
Leo Major constellation usually consists of 9 main stars. Leo means lion. So, the arrangement of stars in the Leo Major constellation is thought to form the outline of a big lion. Leo Major constellation is visible during summer in the early part of the night.