Reply To: star constellation

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David Basey

Hi Ross,

I well remember 50+ years ago standing out under a starry sky and trying to identify the constellations for the first time. Very confusing but I got there in the end and so will you. The good news is that there are now facilities available to help you that weren’t back then.

There are two steps to success. Firstly you need to know what’s ‘up’ at the time you are looking. For this you will need a smartphone app, planisphere or a current popular astronomy magazine with a star chart in it.

Secondly, you need to pick out an easy to find, bright pattern. In the northern sky the Plough will be useful. At this time of year if you look towards the SW you should see Orion just after dark. Once you’ve identified the bright pattern you can use it as a signpost to other constellations.

This is obviously just a brief overview. The BAA has produced a pair of tutorials which go into more detail and will hopefully help you. They are available here and here.

Lastly this article lists the ‘Starting Out’ tutorials in a logical manner which as a beginner you may find useful.

Best wishes, David.