A constellation is a grouping of stars in the night sky that represent a figure or an object. Before modern technology, knowledge of constellations and the night sky were very important to sailors navigating at sea. After the sun had set, sailors used the stars and other celestial objects to safely chart their course. This was long before we had things like GPS, compasses, or nautical charts at our fingertips.
Constellations change seasonally, so it was important for seafarers to know which constellations were visible in the sky during a specific time of year in each hemisphere. Based on these constellations and the location of the North Star, sailors could determine their direction.
You can read more about the history of navigating by the stars here.
Nowadays, some stars and constellations may not be visible or as bright in some areas due to light pollution. We are inviting you to Get Outside! and participate in Globe At Night! Become a citizen-scientist: measure and submit your data, all while raising awareness of the impact of light pollution! After you have submitted your data, check out this activity and Create a Constellation!