A Constellation is a group of stars that resemble a pattern from which legends and stories have been built around. The constellations that most people are familiar with such as Leo and Libra for instance are based on the Ancient Greek Legends. The Chinese had their own constellations that were Azure Dragon of the East, Black Tortoise of the North, White Tiger of the West and Vermillion Bird of the South. When constellations are mentioned, this site refers unless stated on the Greek constellations.
Below is the complete list of 88 constellations that surround our solar system. If we went to a different star such as Rigil Kentaurus also known as Alpha Centauri, the stars will not appear in the same place in the sky as they do on Earth. The constellations that surround Rigil Kentaurus will have a different shape and so will need new constellations. The original list of constellations consisted of 48 which was devised by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in 140AD. During the 19th and 20th, they swelled in numbers to 88, some of the newer constellations were divised by Nicolas L de LaCaille, which are predominantly located in the southern hemispheric constellation. To get a rough idea of which are new and which are old, the constellations in the southern hemisphere with a few exceptions are new. The Microscopium and Telescopium are two that are definantly new as the objects they represent were not around in 140AD. Some constellations are easy to identify such as Ursa Minor and Orion whilst others are hard to distinguish between them and any other collection of Stars, e.g. Telescropium because it is simply two stars in a line.
Some constellations have been dropped such as Quadrans Muralis (Mural Quadrant) and all that remains of this constellation is the Quantratids, a Meteor Shower that is within the Bootes constellation boundary now.
As the Sun orbits round the Galactic Centre, the stars will move out of place and so these constellations won`t be recognisable in thousands of years time. Ursa Major will probably look more like a tadpole than what it does now, a saucepan. Since the Zodiac Constellations were drawn up, they are no longer in the positions that they are associated with. For example, the Leo Constellation doesn`t appear after the Sun sets in August anymore. It was Edmund Halley, Sir who discovered that stars moved and it is on that basis 1 that we now that these constellations won`t be like this in say 50,000 years. Some stars such as Nunki will move out of position they are now quicker because they are in Sagittarius and closer to the galactic centre than say Acubens in Cancer which by rough calculation is further out of the galaxy than our own Sun. In the future, they`ll be new constellations, maybe a computer constellation or a plane.
As the Sun moves across the sky, it becomes a member of a number of constellations but because the Sun outshines the all the stars, we don`t see them. Its more correct to say as the Earth revolves, the Sun would appear to be a member of a series of constellations. The only constellation that the Sun is a member of that we`re interested in is the sign that it sets in for astrologers. Therefore the correct answer is that the Sun is not a member of a constellation in the same way that Regulus is a member of the Leo constellation.
If we are at the Galactic Centre and looked back at the Earth, the Sun would probably look as though it was a member of the Gemini or Auriga constellations. If we were at that spot on the borders of Gemini and Auriga and looked back at the Sun, we would possibly see that the Sun is in Sagittarius. Likewise if we moved round the galaxy, the Sun would be a member of a different constellation. It`ll be in a different constellation depending on where we are.
|Canes Venatici||Canis Major||Canis Minor||Capricornus|
|Coma Berenices||Corona Australis||Corona Borealis||Corvus|
|Triangulum Australe||Tucana||Ursa Major||Ursa Minor|