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How to Spot Constellations

For over 6,000 years, people all over the world have looked up to the stars and named them. As you gaze at the night sky, open your eyes to the constellations that shine above you.


  • Step 1: Check the weather report Check the weather reports online, in the newspaper, or on the television to see if it is a clear night.
  • TIP: Find out how bright the moon is going to be. A bright moon makes spotting constellations more difficult.
  • Step 2: Stay away from lights and buildings Stay away from house lights, streetlights, and buildings that can block or disrupt your view.
  • Step 3: Be comfortable Sit on a lawn chair or lay on a blanket so you can be comfortable while stargazing.
  • Step 4: Adjust to the dark Allow your eyes to adjust to the dark. This can take 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Step 5: Bring a star chart Bring a star chart or star map to help you identify constellations. Use a flashlight to read the map.
  • TIP: Modify the flashlight so that it has a red light, which will allow you to see the map without disrupting your night vision.
  • Step 6: Use a telescope or binoculars Use a telescope or binoculars to help you see the stars, planets, and craters on the moon. For beginners, 7 by 50 binoculars are recommended. With the constellations as your guide, you're sure to enjoy many peaceful, clear nights.
  • FACT: Hydra, named for the water monster from Greek mythology, is the largest constellation in the sky.

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • Newspaper
  • Lawn chair
  • Blanket
  • Star chart
  • Flashlight
  • Telescope or binoculars

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