illustration of constellation animals and gods words Set by step guide to stargaszin

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered how to find the constellations? It might seem impossible at first, there are so many stars! But you’ll be relieved to know there are actually only 88 named constellations. And you can only see around half of them at a time, as the other half will be round the other side of the world, or just not visible from your viewpoint. What you see from the northern hemisphere in summer, will largely be seen from the southern hemisphere in winter, and vice versa. This activity will help you find and name four northern summer/southern winter constellations.


A star map – try the Sky View app

A compass

Binoculars (optional)

Telescope (optional)

Constellations map on a rectangle showing stars by magnitude, asterisms, constellation borders, ecliptic plane, globular and open clusters, Milky Way's center, celestial and ecliptic poles.


Choose a clear night (no clouds!) and beg your parents to let you stay up late.


With adult supervision go outside and try and get away from streetlights and other bright, distracting lights.


Let your eyes adjust to the darkness (it’ll take around 15 minutes, don’t rush).


If you’re taking this guide with you, take a red-tinted torch to read it by (to keep your night vision). If you’re using a constellation app, use it in quick bursts – the screen light will make it harder for your eyes to focus on the actual stars.


Look for some of the brighter stars and start joining them up (like dot-to-dots). You can use your finger to trace the distant patterns, or just imagine that they’re connected.


Be patient. Of course you want to find all the constellations quickly and learn them all in one night, but give yourself time to learn them. Remember, you can see the stars every night, this is just the first night you’ll be looking at them with this guide.o

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Words: Annalia Seaman. Illustration: Kaley McKean