Look up at the night sky when there are no clouds and what do you see? Thousands of stars in every direction. These stars appear in the same position every single night and for thousands of years, humans have used their arrangements for navigation, and superstitious activities.
As viewed from Earth, stars appear next to each other and shapes have been formed and named.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the North Star always appears fixed because it is above the North Pole, all the other stars appear to rotate around it. Of course, it is the Earth spinning not the stars.
An easy constellation to spot is Ursa Major in the Northern Hemisphere. It is in the shape of a saucepan.
As the Earth orbits the Sun through the year, different portions of the sky become visible and invisible at different times of year, so you can only see certain constellations at certain times of the year.
Sailors used to use the stars to navigate at night. Many ancient civilisations used the stars for time keeping and "fortune telling". There are 12 zodiac constellations that are positioned in such a way that throughout the year, you only see one of them. It is believed that people born at certain times of year i.e. under a certain 'star sign' follow similar traits and fortunes.
To find out more about individual constellations Click Here!