Observational Astronomy Fact Sheet

The content in this document, with rare exception, is an aggregation of astronomical information from several websites (largely NASA, wikipedia, amsmeteorg.org, and astropixels.com). Its only purpose is to provide a lot of information in a single location – and specifically to provide it in a printable format for easy access when out observing. If you find problems or have recommendations for additional data, please contact cheatsheet@somewhereville.com or visit somewhereville.com/observational-astronomy-fact-sheet.

The original version of this document was among other educational brochures produced for Central New York Observers (www.cnyo.org). These can all be found at:

www.cnyo.org/2017/02/07/cnyo-brochure-an-observational-astronomy-cheat-sheet/

An important word on the facts: To the very best of ability, all of the information has been checked and double-checked against available data online. To that end, all of the data as presented can be directly attributed to the following websites as of their content on 1 April 2020:

* astropixels.com/messier/messiercat.html – extra thanks to Fred Espenak for use permissions

* astropixels.com/stars/brightstars.html – extra thanks to Fred Espenak for use permissions

* www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/2016-meteor-shower-list/

* www.dl1dbc.net/Meteorscatter/meteortopics.html

* nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/

* star.arm.ac.uk/~dja/shower/codes.html

And, of course:

* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_exceptional_asteroids

* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_modern_constellations

* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_meteor_showers

* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_brightest_stars

* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_magnitude

* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_classification

The Observational Astronomy Cheat Sheet (PDF) contains the following:

Page 1: The only three figures in the document, including the famous “finger how-to” for measuring distances in the night sky and a figure describing right ascension and declination (with values for many objects given in the tables).

Page 2: Moons And Planets – All of the standard information (and descriptions below) about the relative places of planets in the Solar System (distances, masses, temperatures, distances from Sun), then an extra column for our Moon.

Page 3: Best Meteor Showers – All of the categorized Class I, II, and III Meteor Showers throughout the year, including approximate peak dates, times, and directions.

Page 4: Marginal Meteor Showers – All of the categorized Class IV Meteor Showers (these are surely poor meteor showers for observing, but that fact that we’ve catalogued them there tells you how exhaustive astronomers have been in keeping track of periodicities in our day/nighttime sky).

Page 5: Winter And Spring Messier Objects – including abbreviations, NGC labels, types, distances (as best we know them), and Common Names.

Page 6: Summer And Autumn Messier Objects – including abbreviations, NGC labels, types, distances (as best we know them), and Common Names.

Page 7: Northern and Zodiacal Constellations – including family, origin, brightest star, and positional information.

Page 8: Southern Constellations – including family, origin, brightest star, and positional information.

Page 9: Top Asteroids – the best and brightest (and best identified), including distances, discovery information, and magnitudes (as available).

Page 10: Stars – the Top 50 brightest (with our Sun at its rightful position as #1), including constellation, magnitudes, distances, and mass and positional information.

Getting Around The Night Sky

Images from blog.simulationcurriculum.com/articles/2015/5/15/measuring-distances-in-the-sky. From horizon to horizon (eg., East-to-West, North-to-South) through the zenith (the point directly above you), the sky is divided into 180 degrees. Your hand can be used to estimate angular distances. Check for yourself – compare with measured distances for the Big Dipper (right).

Right Ascension And Declination

The entire sky, divided into two parts. Right ascension (blue) begins at the vernal equinox (at far right, at the intersection of the ecliptic (red) and the equator (green)) and increases eastward (towards the left). The lines of right ascension (blue) from pole to pole divide the sky into 24h, each equivalent to 15°. Declination (green) begins at the equator (green) and is positive northward (towards the top) and negative southward (towards the bottom). The lines of declination (green) divide the sky into small circles, here 15° apart. For orientation, the yellow box at left contains the tea pot of Capricorn. The yellow box at right contains the body of Orion. Image (recolored) and text taken directly from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declination and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_ascension (on 17 Oct 2016).

Moon And Planets

Moon And Planets MERCURY  VENUS  EARTH  MOON  MARS  JUPITER  SATURN  URANUS  NEPTUNE 
Mass (x 1024 kg)0.334.875.970.0730.6421898.0568.086.8102.0
Equatorial Diameter (km)487912,10412,75634756792142,984120,53651,11849,528
Polar Diameter (km)487912,10412,71434756752133,708108,72849,94648,682
Avg. Diameter As 1/Earth0.3830.9501.0000.2730.53210.8639.0013.9683.856
Density (kg/m3)54275243551433403933132668712711638
Gravity (m/s2)3.78.99.81.63.723.19.08.711.0
If 100 lbs* On Earth37.890.7100.016.637.7236.4106.488.9112.5
Escape Velocity (km/s)4.310.411.22.45.059.535.521.323.5
Rotation Period (hours)1407.6-5832.523.9655.724.69.910.7-17.216.1
Length Of Day (hours)4222.62802.024.0708.724.79.910.717.216.1
Dist. From Sun (x 106 km)57.9108.2149.60.384227.9778.61433.52872.54495.1
Distance From Sun (AU)0.390.731.0n/a1.385.209.5819.2230.10
Perihelion (x 106 km)46.0107.5147.10.363206.6740.51352.62741.34444.5
Aphelion (x 106 km)69.8108.9152.10.406249.2816.61514.53003.64545.7
Orbital Period (days)88.0224.7365.227.3687.04331.010,747.030,589.059,800.0
Orbital Period (years)0.20.61.00.11.911.929.483.8163.8
Orbital Velocity (km/s)47.435.029.81.024.113.19.76.85.4
Orbital Inclination (o)7.03.40.05.11.91.32.50.81.8
Orbital Eccentricity0.2050.0070.0170.0550.0940.0490.0570.0460.011
Obliq. To Orbit/Axial Tilt (o)0.01177.423.46.725.23.126.797.828.3
Hill Sphere Radius94167235n/a320740110027004700
Geometric Albedo0.1060.650.370.120.150.520.470.510.41
Mean Temp. (oC,oF)167,333464,86715,59-20,-4-65,-85-110,-166-140,-220-195,-320-200,-330
Highest Temp. (oC,oF)450,840465,87058,136127,26020,70n/an/an/an/a
Lowest Temp. (oC,oF)-170,-275465,870-89,-129-173,-280-125,-195n/an/an/an/a
Surface Pressure (bars)092100.01????????????????
Number Of Moons0010279822714
Moons Visible In Binoculars001n/a04100
Ring System?NoNoNoNoNoYesYesYesYes
Global Magnetic Field?YesNoYesNoNoYesYesYesYes
Moon And Planets:   For the Moon, information with respect to Earth is provided (grey boxes).   Mass (1024 kg) – This is the mass of the planet in septillion (1 followed by 24 zeros) kilograms.    Diameter (km) – The diameter of the planet at the equator and poles, the distance through the center of the planet from one point to the opposite side.    Density (kg/m3) – The average density (mass divided by volume) of the whole planet (not including the atmosphere for the terrestrial planets) in kilograms per cubic meter.    Gravity (m/s2) – The gravitational acceleration on the surface at the equator in meters per second squared, including the effects of rotation. For the gas giant planets the gravity is given at the 1 bar pressure level in the atmosphere. The gravity on Earth is designated as 1 "G."    Escape Velocity (km/s) – Initial velocity, in kilometers per second, needed at the surface (at the 1 bar pressure level for the gas giants) to escape the body's gravitational pull, ignoring atmospheric drag.    Rotation Period (hours) – This is the time it takes for the planet to complete one rotation relative to the fixed background stars (not relative to the Sun) in hours. Negative numbers indicate retrograde (backwards relative to the Earth) rotation.    Length of Day (hours) – The average time in hours for the Sun to move from the noon position in the sky at a point on the equator back to the same position.    Distance from Sun (106 km and AU) – This is the average distance from the planet to the Sun in millions of kilometers and AU, also known as the semi-major axis. All planets have orbits which are elliptical, not perfectly circular, so there is a point in the orbit at which the planet is closest to the Sun, the perihelion, and a point furthest from the Sun, the aphelion. The average distance from the Sun is midway between these two values. The average distance from the Earth to the Sun is defined as 1 Astronomical Unit (AU), so the ratio table gives this distance in AU. For the Moon, the average distance from the Earth is given.    Perihelion, Aphelion (106 km) – The closest and furthest points in a planet's orbit about the Sun, see "Distance from Sun" above. For the Moon, the closest and furthest points to Earth are given, known as the "Perigee" and "Apogee" respectively.    Orbital Period (days) – This is the time in Earth days for a planet to orbit the Sun from one vernal equinox to the next. Also known as the tropical orbit period, this is equal to a year on Earth. * For the Moon, the sidereal orbit period, the time to orbit once relative to the fixed background stars, is given. The time from full Moon to full Moon, or synodic period, is 29.53 days.   Orbital Velocity (km/s) – The average velocity or speed of the planet as it orbits the Sun, in kilometers per second.    Orbital Inclination (degrees) – The angle in degrees at which a planets orbit around the Sun is tilted relative to the ecliptic plane. The ecliptic plane is defined as the plane containing the Earth's orbit, so the Earth's inclination is 0.    Orbital Eccentricity – This is a measure of how far a planet's orbit about the Sun (or the Moon's orbit about the Earth) is from being circular. The larger the eccentricity, the more elongated is the orbit, an eccentricity of 0 means the orbit is a perfect circle. There are no units for eccentricity.    Obliquity to Orbit/Axial Tilt (degrees) – The angle in degrees the axis of a planet (the imaginary line running through the center of the planet from the north to south poles) is tilted relative to a line perpendicular to the planet's orbit around the Sun, north pole defined by right hand rule. *Venus rotates in a retrograde direction, opposite the other planets, so the tilt is almost 180 degrees, it is considered to be spinning with its "top", or north pole pointing "downward" (southward). Uranus rotates almost on its side relative to the orbit. The ratios with Earth refer to the axis without reference to north or south.    Mean Temperature (oC or oF) – This is the average temperature over the whole planet's surface (or for the gas giants at the one bar level) in degrees C (Celsius or Centigrade) or degrees F (Fahrenheit). For Mercury and the Moon, for example, this is an average over the sunlit (very hot) and dark (very cold) hemispheres and so is not representative of any given region on the planet, and most of the surface is quite different from this average value. As with the Earth, there will tend to be variations in temperature from the equator to the poles, from the day to night sides, and seasonal changes on most of the planets.    Surface Pressure (bars) – This is the atmospheric pressure (the weight of the atmosphere per unit area) at the surface of the planet in bars. *The surfaces of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are deep in the atmosphere and the location and pressures are not known.    Number of Moons – This gives the number of IAU officially confirmed moons orbiting the planet. New moons are still being discovered.    Ring System? – This tells whether a planet has a set of rings around it, Saturn being the most obvious example.    Global Magnetic Field? – This tells whether the planet has a measurable large-scale magnetic field. Mars and the Moon have localized regional magnetic fields but no global field. The term "terrestrial planets" refers to Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, and Mars. The term "gas giants" refers to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.    Nearly all data and all text (some unit description and other text removed) taken directly from nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/.

Best Meteor Showers

Best Meteor ShowersCIAUActivity PeriodMaximumS.L.R.A.Dec.km/srZHRTimeOriginating Body
*Antihelion Source IIANTDec 10 – Sep 1030.03.0401:00 
Quadrantids IQUADec 30 – Jan 12Jan 4283.2°15:24+48° 42’40.92.112005:002003 EH (Asteroid)
Alpha Centaurids IIACEJan 28 – Feb 21Feb 8319.2°14:00-59° 00’56.02.0605:00 
Lyrids ILYRApr 18 – Apr 25Apr 2232.5°18:10+33° 12’45.52.11804:00C/1861 G1 (Thatcher)
Pi Puppids IIIPPUApr 15 – Apr 28Apr 2333.5°07:20-45° 00’18.02.0var19:00 
Eta Aquariids IETAApr 24 – May 19May 746.8°22:36-00° 30’66.52.44004:001P/Halley
Eta Lyrids IIELYMay 05 – May 12May 1050.0°19:24+43° 12’43.43.0304:00 
June Bootids IIIJBOJun 23 – Jun 25Jun 2392.5°14:58+48° 00’13.02.2var21:00 
Alpha Capricornids IICAPJul 06 – Aug 10Jul 26127.0°20:18-10° 30’21.82.5501:00169P/NEAT
Delta Aquariids ISDAJul 21 – Aug 23Jul 28128.0°22:42-16° 24’42.03.21603:0096P/Machholz?
Perseids IPERJul 13 – Aug 26Aug 12140.0°03:12+57° 36’60.52.210004:00109P/Swift-Tuttle
Kappa Cygnids IIKCGAug 06 – Aug 31Aug 17145.0°18:30+58° 00’22.73.0323:00 
Aurigids IIAURAug 29 – Sep 04Aug 31158.6°06:02+39° 18’66.72.5604:00 
Sept. Epsilon Perseids IISPESep 05 – Sep 28Sep 9167.0°03:12+39° 36’64.53.0505:00 
Draconids IIIGIAOct 06 – Oct 10Oct 9196.0°17:28+56° 00’19.02.6var18:00 
Southern Taurids IISTASep 07 – Nov 19Oct 10197.0°02:06+08° 42’28.92.3502:002P/Encke
Orionids IORIAug 25 – Nov 19Oct 22208.9°06:24+15° 30’67.12.51505:001P/Halley
Epsilon Geminids IIEGESep 29 – Nov 02Oct 22209.0°06:58+27° 36’69.63.0305:00 
Leonis Minorids IILMIOct 17 – Oct 27Oct 22209.0°10:40+36° 42’59.93.0205:00 
Andromedids IIIANDOct 26 – Nov 20Nov 8226.0°01:31+29° 24’15.92.5var22:00 
Northern Taurids IINTAOct 25 – Dec 04Nov 11229.0°03:54+22° 24’27.12.3500:002P/Encke
Leonids ILEONov 05 – Dec 03Nov 18236.1°10:17+21° 30’69.72.51505:0055P/Tempel-Tuttle
Alpha Monocerotids IIIAMONov 21 – Nov 23Nov 21239.3°07:52+01° 00’68.02.4var03:00 
November Orionids IINOONov 13 – Dec 07Nov 28247.0°06:02+15° 30’43.73.0304:00 
Sigma Hydrids IIHYDNov 24 – Dec 21Dec 6254.0°08:16+02° 42’60.73.0303:00 
Dec Phoenicids IIIPHONov 28 – Dec 09Dec 6254.3°01:12-53° 00’18.02.8var20:00 
Puppid/Velids IIPUPDec 01 – Dec 15Dec 7255.0°08:12-45° 00’40.02.91004:00 
Monocerotids IIMONNov 27 – Dec 17Dec 9257.0°06:40+08° 18’40.53.0201:00 
Geminids IGEMNov 30 – Dec 17Dec 13261.5°07:33+32° 24’33.72.612001:003200 Phaethon (Ast.)
Dec. Leonis Minorids IIDLMDec 06 – Jan 18Dec 20269.0°10:50+30° 00’63.13.0505:00 
Ursids IURSDec 17 – Dec 24Dec 22270.7°14:30+74° 48’32.63.01005:008P/Tuttle
Coma Berenicids IICOMDec 24 – Jan 03Dec 31280.0°12:22+11° 42’69.73.0505:00 
Best Meteor Showers: named for the constellation or closest star within a constellation where the radiant is located at maximum activity.   Class (C) – A scale developed by Robert Lunsford to group meteor showers by their intensity:   Class I – the strongest annual showers with ZHR’s normally ten or better.   Class II – reliable minor showers with ZHR’s normally two to ten.   Class III – showers that do not provide annual activity. These showers are rarely active yet have the potential to produce a major display on occasion.   Class IV (next page) – weak minor showers with ZHR’s rarely exceeding two. Observers with less experience are urged to limit their shower associations to showers with a rating of I to III. These stronger showers are also good targets for video and photographic work.   IAU – International Astronomical Union three-letter designation.   Activity Period – the dates when the shower is active and the observer can expect activity from this source (as of 2015). Maximum – the date on which the maximum activity is expected to occur (as of 2015).   S.L. – the equivalent solar longitude of the date of maximum activity. Solar longitude is measured in degrees (0-359) with 0 occurring at the exact moment of the spring equinox, 90 at the summer solstice, 180 at the autumnal equinox, and 270 at the winter solstice. Scientists use this time measurement as it is independent of the calendar.   Radiant – the area in the sky where shower meteors seem to appear from. This position is given in Right Ascension (R.A., celestial longitude) and Declination (Dec., celestial latitude). The radiant must be near or above the horizon in order to witness activity from a particular shower.   Velocity – the velocity at which shower meteors strike the Earth’s atmosphere. The velocity depends on the angle meteoroids (meteors in space) intersect the Earth. Meteoroids orbiting in the opposite direction of the Earth and striking the atmosphere head-on are much faster than those orbiting in the same direction as the Earth. This velocity is measured in kilometers per second (km/s).   r – The Population Index, An estimate of the ratio of the number of meteors in subsequent magnitude classes. Simply stated: the lower the “r” value, the resulting overall mean magnitude of each shower will be brighter. “r” usually ranges from 2.0 (bright) to 3.5 (faint).   ZHRZenith Hourly Rate, the average maximum number of shower meteors visible per hour if the radiant is located exactly overhead and the limiting magnitude equals +6.5 (a very dark sky). Actual counts rarely reach this figure as the zenith angle of the radiant is usually less and the limiting magnitude is usually lower than +6.5. ZHR is a useful tool when comparing the actual observed rates between individual observers as it sets observing conditions for all to the same standards.   Time – this is the time of night when meteors from each shower are best seen. Quite often the radiant will culminate after sunrise therefore the last dark hour before dawn will be listed. Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) is used from March through October. These figures are also highly dependent on the location of the observer. The time listed is most precise for northern latitudes of North America. * = “In 2006, the International Meteor Organization (IMO) decided to summarize a number of well-known meteor showers under the term antihelion source.”- from www.dl1dbc.net/Meteorscatter/meteortopics.html Data and text taken from: star.arm.ac.uk/~dja/shower/codes.html, www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/2016-meteor-shower-list/, and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_meteor_showers; wikipedia content as of 17 Oct 2016.

Marginal Meteor Showers

Marginal Meteor ShowersCIAUActivity PeriodMaximumS.L.R.A.Dec.km/sZHRTime
January Leonids IVJLEDec 30 – Jan 05Jan 2281.0°09:46+24o 18’59.4<203:00
Xi Coronae BorealidsIVXCBJan 11 – Jan 18Jan 15295.0°16:36+30o 00’49.0<205:00
Canum Venaticids IVCVNJan 13 – Jan 18Jan 15295.0°14:00+38o 00’56.0<205:00
Lambda Bootids IVLBOJan 17 – Jan 18Jan 17297.0°14:48+45o 00’41.0<205:00
January Xi Ursae Majorids IVXUMJan 16 – Jan 20Jan 18298.0°11:16+33o 00’44.0<203:00
Nu Bootids IVNBOJan 16 – Jan 20Jan 18298.0°13:44+13o 00’67.0<205:00
Gamma Ursae Minorids IVGUMJan 18 – Jan 24Jan 20300.0°15:12+67o 00’30.0<205:00
Eta Corvids IVECVJan 18 – Jan 26Jan 23303.0°12:56-17o 00’69.0<205:00
January Comae Berenicids IVJCOJan 21 – Jan 27Jan 24304.0°12:52+15o 00’65.0<205:00
Alpha Coronae Borealids IVACBJan 27 – Feb 05Jan 28308.0°15:24+26o 00’57.0<205:00
February Eta Draconids IVFEDFeb 03 – Feb 06Feb 4315.0°15:59+61o 00’32.0<205:00
February Epsilon Virginids IVFEVJan 29 – Feb 09Feb 4315.0°13:24+11o 00’64.0<205:00
Pi HydridsIVPIHFeb 04 – Feb 15Feb 7318.0°14:00-21o 00’55.3<205:00
Omega Centaurids IVOCAFeb 12 – Feb 16Feb 14325.0°13:16-55o 00’48.0<205:00
Theta Centaurids IVTCNFeb 12 – Feb 16Feb 14325.0°13:56-29o 00’65.0<205:00
Beta Herculids IVBHEFeb 13 – Feb 16Feb 14325.0°16:24+25o 00’53.0<205:00
February Mu Virginids IVFMVFeb 16 – Mar 04Feb 26337.0°16:12-02o 00’62.0<205:00
Xi Herculids IVXHEMar 10 – Mar 15Mar 12352.0°17:04+48o 30’35.0<205:00
Gamma Normids IVGNOMar 23 – Mar 28Mar 24004.0°16:24-51o 00’68.0<205:00
Zeta Cygnids IVZCYApr 03 – Apr 10Apr 5016.0°20:08+40o 00’40.0<204:00
Delta Aquiliids IVDALApr 07 – Apr 13Apr 9020.0°20:32+12o 00’63.0<204:00
Sigma Leonids A IVSLEApr 08 – Apr 25Apr 15026.0°13:24+03o 00’19.0<201:00
April Rho Cygnids IVAECApr 11 – May 04Apr 22033.0°20:56+44o 30’42.0<204:00
H Virginids IVHVIApr 29 – May 03May 1041.0°13:40-11o 00’17.0<204:00
Gamma Aquiliids IVGAQMay 05 – May 12May 8048.0°20:28+14o 30’66.0<201:00
Theta 2 Sagittariids IVTTSMay 09 – May 14May 13053.0°20:04-33o 00’67.0<201:00
May Beta Capricornids IVMBCMay 16 – May 21May 19059.0°20:20-15o 00’68.0<201:00
June Mu Cassiopeiids IVJMCMay 31 – Jun 05Jun 1071.0°00:44+53o 00’42.0<204:00
Daytime Arietids IVARIMay 14 – Jun 24Jun 7076.7°02:56+23o 30’42.0<204:00
June Rho Cygnids IVJRCJun 14 – Jun 16Jun 14084.0°21:22+44o 42’48.0<200:00
Northern June Aquilids IVNZCJun 10 – Jun 26Jun 16086.0°19:53-10o 00’41.0<204:00
Delta Piscids IVDPIJun 20 – Jun 26Jun 23092.0°00:44+05o 00’69.0<204:00
June Iota Pegasids IVJIPJun 24 – Jun 26Jun 24093.5°22:06+29o 00’59.0<204:00
Sigma Capricornids IVSCAJun 19 – Jul 24Jun 27096.0°20:25-07o 00’41.0<204:00
F Ophiuchids IVFOPJun 29 – Jul 01Jun 29098.0°17:40+07o 30’17.0<204:00
Pi Piscids IVPPSJun 11 – Jul 25Jul 1101.0°01:00+25o 00’67.6<204:00
July Pegasids IVJPEJun 30 – Aug 03Jul 10108.0°23:12+11o 00’68.1<204:00
C Andromedids IVCANJun 26 – Jul 20Jul 12110.0°02:10+47o 30’60.1<204:00
Psi Cassiopeiids IVPCAJul 12 – Jul 18Jul 16114.0°02:52+70o 00’46.0<204:00
Tau Cetids IVTCTJul 20 – Jul 23Jul 21119.0°01:52-18o 00’65.0<204:00
July Gamma Draconids IVGDRJul 25 – Jul 29Jul 27125.0°18:42+50o 30’26.5<200:00
Eta Eridanids IVERIJul 31 – Aug 17Aug 5133.0°02:53-12o 18’65.7<204:00
Beta Perseids IVBPEJul 24 – Aug 20Aug 7135.0°02:57+37o 36’67.0<204:00
Theta Piscids IVTPIAug 08 – Sep 01Aug 19147.0°23:28+04o 60’39.0<204:00
August Gamma Cepheids IVAGCAug 22 – Sep 01Aug 28155.0°00:04+77o 00’41.0<204:00
September Lyncids IVSLYSep 07 – Sep 18Sep 9167.0°06:22+55o 42’59.7<205:00
September Iota Cassiopeiids IVSICSep 10 – Sep 16Sep 14172.0°03:04+64o 00’55.0<203:00
September Pi Orionids IVPORSep 16 – Sep 20Sep 18176.0°04:08+06o 00’66.0<204:00
Beta Aurigids IVBAUSep 21 – Sep 25Sep 22180.0°05:50+48o 00’69.0<205:00
Delta Aurigids IVDAUSep 23 – Sep 29Sep 26184.0°05:08+57o 30’61.0<205:00
Sep-Oct Lyncids IVSOLSep 27 – Sep 30Sep 28186.0°07:26+47o 00’65.0<205:00
Daytime Sextantids IVDSXSep 25 – Oct 05Sep 28186.0°10:16-01o 00’33.0<205:00
October Camelopardalids IVOCTOct 05 – Oct 06Oct 5192.6°11:12+78o 30’44.0<205:00
Psi Aurigids IVZTAOct 09 – Oct 16Oct 13200.0°07:19+43o 00’67.0<205:00
October Ursa Majorids IVOCUOct 14 – Oct 18Oct 15202.0°09:36+64o 18’52.4<205:00
Tau Cancrids IVTCAOct 09 – Oct 25Oct 17204.0°08:57+29o 24’67.8<205:00
Gamma Piscids IVGPSOct 14 – Oct 21Oct 17204.0°01:10+16o 48’20.8<205:00
October Lyncids IVOLYOct 16 – Oct 24Oct 20207.0°07:24+64o 18’63.0<205:00
Eta Taurids IVETTOct 15 – Oct 29Oct 24211.0°03:40+23o 00’45.0<205:00
Lambda Ursa Majorids IVLUMOct 24 – Nov 01Oct 27214.0°10:24+48o 54’61.5<205:00
Southern Lambda Draconids IVSLDOct 24 – Nov 02Oct 27214.0°11:24+48o 54’62.5<205:00
Chi Taurids IVCTANov 04 – Nov 08Nov 5223.0°04:22+25o 00’46.0<205:00
Kappa Ursae Majorids IVKUMNov 02 – Nov 09Nov 5223.0°09:44+45o 30’62.0<205:00
Nov. Iota Draconids IVNIDNov 22 – Dec 01Nov 21239.0°12:40+69o 00’41.0<205:00
Dec. Phi Cassiopeiids IVDPCNov 26 – Dec 05Dec 1249.0°01:33+52o 36’13.9<205:00
December Kappa Draconids IVKDRDec 02 – Dec 06Dec 3251.0°12:22+70o 24’41.4<205:00
Psi Ursa Majorids IVPSUDec 01 – Dec 16Dec 4252.0°11:16+43o 42’60.5<205:00
Alpha Draconids A IVDADDec 05 – Dec 18Dec 7255.0°13:40+60o 06’41.3<205:00
Eta Hydrids IVEHYDec 10 – Dec 18Dec 12260.0°09:08+01o 30’63.0<204:00
December Chi Virginids IVXVIDec 08 – Dec 24Dec 16265.0°12:52-11o 12’69.2<204:00
December Sigma Virginids IVDSVDec 06 – Dec 31Dec 23272.0°13:55+04o 00’68.2<205:00
C Velids IVCVEDec 27 – Dec 30Dec 28277.0°09:20-54o 00’39.0<205:00
Alpha Draconids B IVDADDec 26 – Jan 01Dec 29278.0°14:51+53o 30’41.5<205:00
Alpha Hydrids IVAHYDec 22 – Jan 07Dec 31280.0°08:24-07o 24’43.0<201:00
Best Meteor Showers: named for the constellation or closest star within a constellation where the radiant is located at maximum activity.   Class (C) – A scale developed by Robert Lunsford to group meteor showers by their intensity:   Class I – the strongest annual showers with ZHR’s normally ten or better.   Class II – reliable minor showers with ZHR’s normally two to ten.   Class III – showers that do not provide annual activity. These showers are rarely active yet have the potential to produce a major display on occasion.   Class IV (next page) – weak minor showers with ZHR’s rarely exceeding two. Observers with less experience are urged to limit their shower associations to showers with a rating of I to III. These stronger showers are also good targets for video and photographic work.   IAU – International Astronomical Union three-letter designation.   Activity Period – the dates when the shower is active and the observer can expect activity from this source (as of 2015). Maximum – the date on which the maximum activity is expected to occur (as of 2015).   S.L. – the equivalent solar longitude of the date of maximum activity. Solar longitude is measured in degrees (0-359) with 0 occurring at the exact moment of the spring equinox, 90 at the summer solstice, 180 at the autumnal equinox, and 270 at the winter solstice. Scientists use this time measurement as it is independent of the calendar.   Radiant – the area in the sky where shower meteors seem to appear from. This position is given in Right Ascension (R.A., celestial longitude) and Declination (Dec., celestial latitude). The radiant must be near or above the horizon in order to witness activity from a particular shower.   Velocity – the velocity at which shower meteors strike the Earth’s atmosphere. The velocity depends on the angle meteoroids (meteors in space) intersect the Earth. Meteoroids orbiting in the opposite direction of the Earth and striking the atmosphere head-on are much faster than those orbiting in the same direction as the Earth. This velocity is measured in kilometers per second (km/s).   r – The Population Index, An estimate of the ratio of the number of meteors in subsequent magnitude classes. Simply stated: the lower the “r” value, the resulting overall mean magnitude of each shower will be brighter. “r” usually ranges from 2.0 (bright) to 3.5 (faint).   ZHRZenith Hourly Rate, the average maximum number of shower meteors visible per hour if the radiant is located exactly overhead and the limiting magnitude equals +6.5 (a very dark sky). Actual counts rarely reach this figure as the zenith angle of the radiant is usually less and the limiting magnitude is usually lower than +6.5. ZHR is a useful tool when comparing the actual observed rates between individual observers as it sets observing conditions for all to the same standards.   Time – this is the time of night when meteors from each shower are best seen. Quite often the radiant will culminate after sunrise therefore the last dark hour before dawn will be listed. Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) is used from March through October. These figures are also highly dependent on the location of the observer. The time listed is most precise for northern latitudes of North America. * = “In 2006, the International Meteor Organization (IMO) decided to summarize a number of well-known meteor showers under the term antihelion source.”- from www.dl1dbc.net/Meteorscatter/meteortopics.html Data and text taken from: star.arm.ac.uk/~dja/shower/codes.html, www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/2016-meteor-shower-list/, and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_meteor_showers; wikipedia content as of 17 Oct 2016.

Messier Objects And Best Seasons To Observe – Winter And Spring

WinterConstellationIAUNGCTypeMag.SizeDist. (ly)R.A.Dec.Common Name
M36AurigaAur1960Oc6.312.04,10005:36.1+34° 08' 
M37AurigaAur2099Oc6.224.04,40005:52.4+32° 33' 
M38AurigaAur1912Oc7.421.04,20005:28.7+35° 50' 
M41Canis MajorCMa2287Oc4.638.02,30006:47.0-20° 44' 
M44CancerCnc2632Oc3.795.057708:40.1+19° 59'Beehive Cluster
M67CancerCnc2682Oc6.130.02,70008:50.4+11° 49' 
M35GeminiGem2168Oc5.328.02,80006:08.9+24° 20' 
M48HydraHya2548Oc5.554.01,50008:13.8-05° 48' 
M79LepusLep1904Gc7.78.742,10005:24.5-24° 33' 
M50MonocerosMon2323Oc6.316.03,00007:03.2-08° 20' 
M42OrionOri1976Di4.085×601,60005:35.4-05° 27'Great Nebula in Orion
M43OrionOri1982Di9.020×151,60005:35.6-05° 16'De Mairan's Nebula
M78OrionOri2068Di8.38×61,60005:46.7+00° 03' 
M46PuppisPup2437Oc6.027.05,40007:41.8-14° 49' 
M47PuppisPup2422Oc5.230.01,60007:36.6-14° 30' 
M93PuppisPup2447Oc6.022.03,60007:44.6-23° 52' 
M1TaurusTau1952Sn8.46×46,30005:34.5+22° 01'Crab Nebula
M45TaurusTauOc1.6110.038003:47.0+24° 07'Pleiades
           
SpringConstellationIAUNGCTypeMag.SizeDist. (ly)R.A.Dec.Common Name
M53Coma BerenicesCom5024Gc7.612.659,70013:12.9+18° 10' 
M64Coma BerenicesCom4826Sp8.59.3×5.419 mil12:56.7+21° 41'Black Eye Galaxy
M85Coma BerenicesCom4382Ln9.17.1×5.260 mil12:25.5+18° 12' 
M88Coma BerenicesCom4501Sp9.67×460 mil12:32.1+14° 26' 
M91Coma BerenicesCom4548Ba10.25.4×4.460 mil12:35.5+14° 30' 
M98Coma BerenicesCom4192Sp10.19.5×3.260 mil12:13.9+14° 55' 
M99Coma BerenicesCom4254Sp9.95.4×4.860 mil12:18.9+14° 26' 
M100Coma BerenicesCom4321Sp9.37×660 mil12:23.0+15° 50' 
M3Canes VenaticiCVn5272Gc6.216.233,90013:42.2+28° 23' 
M51Canes VenaticiCVn5194Sp8.411×737 mil13:30.0+47° 11'Whirlpool Galaxy
M63Canes VenaticiCVn5055Sp8.610×637 mil13:15.8+42° 02'Sunflower Galaxy
M94Canes VenaticiCVn4736Sp8.27×315 mil12:50.9+41° 08' 
M106Canes VenaticiCVn4258Sp8.419×825 mil12:18.9+47° 19' 
M68HydraHya4590Gc7.812.033,30012:39.5-26° 45' 
M83HydraHya5236Sp7.611×1015 mil13:37.0-29° 52'Southern Pinwheel
M65LeoLeo3623Sp9.38×1.535 mil11:18.9+13° 05' 
M66LeoLeo3627Sp8.98×2.535 mil11:20.2+12° 59' 
M95LeoLeo3351Ba9.74.4×3.338 mil10:44.0+11° 42' 
M96LeoLeo3368Sp9.26×438 mil10:46.8+11° 49' 
M105LeoLeo3379El9.32.038 mil10:47.8+12° 35' 
M40Ursa MajorUMaWin4Ds8.40.851012:22.4+58° 05'Winnecke 4
M81Ursa MajorUMa3031Sp6.921×1012 mil09:55.6+69° 04'Bode's Galaxy
M82Ursa MajorUMa3034Ir8.49×412 mil09:55.8+69° 41'Cigar Galaxy
M97Ursa MajorUMa3587Pl9.93.4×3.32,60011:14.8+55° 01'Owl Nebula
M101Ursa MajorUMa5457Sp7.922.027 mil14:03.2+54° 21'Pinwheel Galaxy
M108Ursa MajorUMa3556Sp10.08×145 mil11:11.5+55° 40' 
M109Ursa MajorUMa3992Ba9.87×455 mil11:57.6+53° 23' 
M49VirgoVir4472El8.49×7.560 mil12:29.8+08° 00' 
M58VirgoVir4579Ba9.75.5×4.560 mil12:37.7+11° 49' 
M59VirgoVir4621El9.65×3.560 mil12:42.0+11° 39' 
M60VirgoVir4649El8.87×660 mil12:43.7+11° 33' 
M61VirgoVir4303Sp9.76×5.560 mil12:21.9+04° 28' 
M84VirgoVir4374Ln9.15.060 mil12:25.1+12° 53' 
M86VirgoVir4406Ln8.97.5×5.560 mil12:26.2+12° 57' 
M87VirgoVir4486El8.67.060 mil12:30.8+12° 24' 
M89VirgoVir4552El9.84.060 mil12:35.7+12° 33' 
M90VirgoVir4569Sp9.59.5×4.560 mil12:36.8+13° 10' 
M104VirgoVir4594Sp8.09×450 mil12:40.0-11° 37'Sombrero Galaxy
Messier Objects and Best Seasons to observe. Today, we recognize the Messier Catalog to consist of a collection of deep sky objects that all lie far beyond the Solar System. Well over 1/3 of them lie outside our own Milky Way Galaxy. The catalog contains 27 open clusters, 29 globular clusters, 6 diffuse nebulae, 4 planetary nebulae, and 40 galaxies (24 spiral, 8 elliptical, 4 barred, and 4 lenticular). There are several one-of-a-kind objects in the catalog including 1 supernova remnant, 1 Milky Way patch, 1 double star, and 1 asterism.   Mnn – Messier Catalog Number.   Constellation – associated constellation.   IAU – IAU Constellation Abbreviation.  NGC – New General Catalog Number.   Type – Celestial Object Classification. Object Types: Oc – Open Cluster, Sp – Spiral Galaxy, Gc – Globular Cluster, Ba – Barred Galaxy, Pl – Planetary Nebula, Ln – Lenticular Galaxy, Di – Diffuse Nebula, El – Elliptical Galaxy, As – Asterism, Ir – Irregular Galaxy, Ds – Double Star, Sn – Supernova Remnant, MW – Milky Way Patch. Mag. – Apparent Visual Magnitude.   Size – Angular Size in Arc-Minutes.   Dist. (ly) – Distance from Solar System in Light Years.   R.A. – Right Ascension (J2000) in Hours and Minutes.   Dec. – Declination (J2000) in Degrees and Minutes.   Common Name – Informal or Colloquial Name of Messier Object. Data and most text reproduced from astropixels.com/messier/messiercat.html with thanks to Fred Espenak for reprinting permissions.

Messier Objects And Best Seasons To Observe – Summer And Autumn

SummerConstellationIAUNGCTypeMag.SizeDist. (ly)R.A.Dec.Common Name
M72AquariusAqr6981Gc9.35.955,40020:53.5-12° 32' 
M73AquariusAqr6994As92.82,00020:59.0-12° 38' 
M29CygnusCyg6913Oc7.17.04,00020:23.9+38° 32' 
M102DracoDra5866Ln9.95.2×2.340 mil15:06.5+55° 46' 
M13HerculesHer6205Gc5.816.625,10016:41.7+36° 28'Great Hercules Globular
M92HerculesHer6341Gc6.411.226,70017:17.1+43° 08' 
M56LyraLyr6779Gc8.37.132,90019:16.6+30° 11' 
M57LyraLyr6720Pl8.81.4×1.02,30018:53.6+33° 02'Ring Nebula
M9OphiuchusOph6333Gc7.79.326,70017:19.2-18° 31' 
M10OphiuchusOph6254Gc6.615.114,40016:57.1-04° 06' 
M12OphiuchusOph6218Gc6.714.516,00016:47.2-01° 57' 
M14OphiuchusOph6402Gc7.611.729,00017:37.6-03° 15' 
M19OphiuchusOph6273Gc6.813.528,40017:02.6-26° 16' 
M62OphiuchusOph6266Gc6.514.122,50017:01.2-30° 07' 
M107OphiuchusOph6171Gc7.910.020,90016:32.5-13° 03' 
M4ScorpiusSco6121Gc5.626.37,20016:23.6-26° 32' 
M6ScorpiusSco6405Oc4.225.01,60017:40.1-32° 13'Butterfly Cluster
M7ScorpiusSco6475Oc3.380.080017:53.9-34° 49'Ptolemy's Cluster
M80ScorpiusSco6093Gc7.38.932,60016:17.0-22° 59' 
M11ScutumSct6705Oc6.314.06,00018:51.1-06° 16'Wild Duck Cluster
M26ScutumSct6694Oc815.05,00018:45.2-09° 24' 
M5SerpensSer5904Gc5.617.424,50015:18.6+02° 05' 
M16SerpensSer6611Oc6.47.07,00018:18.8-13° 47'Eagle Nebula
M71SagittaSge6838Gc8.27.212,70019:53.8+18° 47' 
M8SagittariusSgr6523Di690×405,20018:03.8-24° 23'Lagoon Nebula
M17SagittariusSgr6618Di711.05,00018:20.8-16° 11'Omega Nebula
M18SagittariusSgr6613Oc7.59.04,90018:19.9-17° 08' 
M20SagittariusSgr6514Di928.05,20018:02.6-23° 02'Trifid Nebula
M21SagittariusSgr6531Oc6.513.04,25018:04.6-22° 30' 
M22SagittariusSgr6656Gc5.124.010,40018:36.4-23° 54'Sagittarius Cluster
M23SagittariusSgr6494Oc6.927.02,15017:56.8-19° 01' 
M24SagittariusSgrMW4.690.010,00018:16.9-18° 30'Sagittarius Star Cloud
M25SagittariusSgrIC4725Oc6.540.02,00018:31.6-19° 15' 
M28SagittariusSgr6626Gc6.811.218,60018:24.5-24° 52' 
M54SagittariusSgr6715Gc7.69.188,70018:55.1-30° 29' 
M55SagittariusSgr6809Gc6.319.017,60019:40.0-30° 58' 
M69SagittariusSgr6637Gc7.67.128,00018:31.4-32° 21' 
M70SagittariusSgr6681Gc7.97.829,40018:43.2-32° 18' 
M75SagittariusSgr6864Gc8.56.061,30020:06.1-21° 55' 
M27VulpeculaVul6853Pl7.48.0×5.71,25019:59.6+22° 43'Dumbbell Nebula

 
          
AutumnConstellationIAUNGCTypeMag.SizeDist. (ly)R.A.Dec.Common Name
M31AndromedaAnd224Sp3.4178×633 mil00:41.8+41° 16'Andromeda Galaxy
M32AndromedaAnd221El8.18×63 mil00:42.8+40° 52' 
M110AndromedaAnd205El8.517×103 mil00:40.4+41° 41' 
M2AquariusAqr7089Gc6.512.937,90021:33.5+00° 49' 
M30CapricornCap7099Gc7.211.026,10021:40.4-23° 11' 
M52CassiopeiaCas7654Oc7.313.05,00023:24.2+61° 35' 
M103CassiopeiaCas581Oc7.46.08,50001:33.2+60° 42' 
M77CetusCet1068Sp8.97×660 mil02:42.7+00° 02' 
M39CygnusCyg7092Oc4.632.082521:32.2+48° 26' 
M15PegasusPeg7078Gc6.212.333,60021:30.0+12° 10'Great Pegasus Globular
M34PerseusPer1039Oc5.535.01,40002:42.0+42° 47' 
M76PerseusPer650Pl10.12.7×1.83,40001:42.4+51° 34'Little Dumbbell Nebula
M74PiscesPsc628Sp9.410.2×9.535 mil01:36.7+15° 47' 
M33TriangulumTri598Sp5.773×453 mil01:33.9+30° 39'Triangulum Galaxy
Messier Objects and Best Seasons to observe. Today, we recognize the Messier Catalog to consist of a collection of deep sky objects that all lie far beyond the Solar System. Well over 1/3 of them lie outside our own Milky Way Galaxy. The catalog contains 27 open clusters, 29 globular clusters, 6 diffuse nebulae, 4 planetary nebulae, and 40 galaxies (24 spiral, 8 elliptical, 4 barred, and 4 lenticular). There are several one-of-a-kind objects in the catalog including 1 supernova remnant, 1 Milky Way patch, 1 double star, and 1 asterism.   Mnn – Messier Catalog Number.   Constellation – associated constellation.   IAU – IAU Constellation Abbreviation.  NGC – New General Catalog Number.   Type – Celestial Object Classification. Object Types: Oc – Open Cluster, Sp – Spiral Galaxy, Gc – Globular Cluster, Ba – Barred Galaxy, Pl – Planetary Nebula, Ln – Lenticular Galaxy, Di – Diffuse Nebula, El – Elliptical Galaxy, As – Asterism, Ir – Irregular Galaxy, Ds – Double Star, Sn – Supernova Remnant, MW – Milky Way Patch. Mag. – Apparent Visual Magnitude.   Size – Angular Size in Arc-Minutes.   Dist. (ly) – Distance from Solar System in Light Years.   R.A. – Right Ascension (J2000) in Hours and Minutes.   Dec. – Declination (J2000) in Degrees and Minutes.   Common Name – Informal or Colloquial Name of Messier Object. Data and most text reproduced from astropixels.com/messier/messiercat.html with thanks to Fred Espenak for reprinting permissions.

Northern & Zodiacal Constellations In The Western Tradition

Northern Con.IUAMeaningFamilyOriginBrightest StarR.A.Dec.Quad%SkyR
AndromedaAndAndromedaPerseusPtolemyAlpheratz00:48.46+37o 25.91’NQ11.75%19
AquilaAqlEagleHerculesPtolemyAltair22:17.38?10o 47.35’SQ42.38%10
AurigaAurCharioteerPerseusPtolemyCapella06:04.42+42o 01.68’NQ21.59%21
BoötesBooHerdsmenUrsa MajorPtolemyArcturus14:42.64+31o 12.16’NQ32.20%13
CamelopardalisCamGiraffeUrsa Major1613, Planciusb Camelopardalis08:51.37+69o 22.89’NQ21.83%18
Canes VenaticiCVnHunting DogsUrsa Major1690, HeveliusCor Caroli08:41.70?63o 13.16’SQ21.20%34
CassiopeiaCasCassiopeiaPerseusPtolemyShedir10:41.53?79o 12.30’SQ20.32%79
CepheusCepCepheusPerseusPtolemyAlderamin06:49.74?22o 08.42’SQ20.92%43
Coma BerenicesComBerenice's HairUrsa Major1603, Uranomet.b Comae Berenices18:38.79?41o 08.85’SQ40.31%80
Corona BorealisCrBNorthern CrownUrsa MajorPtolemyAlphecca11:23.75?15o 55.74’SQ20.68%53
CygnusCygSwanHerculesPtolemyDeneb20:35.28+44o 32.70’NQ41.95%16
DelphinusDelDolphinHeav. Wat.PtolemyRotanev20:41.61+11o 40.26’NQ40.46%69
DracoDraDragonUrsa MajorPtolemyEtamin15:08.64+67o 00.40’NQ32.63%8
EquuleusEquFillyHeav. Wat.PtolemyKitalpha21:11.26+07o 45.49’NQ40.17%87
HerculesHerHerculesHerculesPtolemyKornephoros17:23.16+27o 29.93’NQ32.97%5
HydraHyaSea SerpentHerculesPtolemyAlphard11:36.73?14o 31.91’SQ23.16%1
LacertaLacLizardPerseus1690, Heveliusa Lacertae22:27.68+46o 02.51’NQ40.49%68
Leo MinorLMiLittle LionUrsa Major1690, HeveliusPraecipua05:33.95?19o 02.78’SQ10.70%51
LynxLynLynxUrsa Major1690, HeveliusElvashak07:59.53+47o 28.00’NQ21.32%28
LyraLyrLyre (Harp)HerculesPtolemyVega18:51.17+36o 41.36’NQ40.69%52
OphiuchusOphSerpent-BearerHerculesPtolemyRasalhague17:23.69?07o 54.74’SQ32.30%11
PegasusPegPegasusPerseusPtolemyEnif22:41.84+19o 27.98’NQ42.72%7
PerseusPerPerseusPerseusPtolemyMirfak03:10.50+45o 00.79’NQ11.49%24
SagittaSgeArrowHerculesPtolemyg Sagittae00:26.28?32o 05.30’SQ11.15%36
ScutumSctShieldHercules1690, Heveliusa Scuti10:16.29?02o 36.88’SQ20.76%47
Serpens[9]SerSerpentHerculesPtolemyUnukalhai19:39.05+18o 51.68’NQ40.19%86
TriangulumTriTrianglePerseusPtolemyb Trianguli16:04.95?65o 23.28’SQ30.27%83
Ursa MajorUMaBig DipperUrsa MajorPtolemyAlioth11:18.76+50o 43.27’NQ23.10%3
Ursa MinorUMiLittle DipperUrsa MajorPtolemyPolaris15:00.00+77o 41.99’NQ30.62%56
VulpeculaVulFoxHercules1690, HeveliusAnser20:13.88+24o 26.56’NQ40.65%55
           
Zodiacal Con.IUAMeaningFamilyOriginBrightest StarR.A.Dec.Quad.%SkyRank
AquariusAqrWater BearerZodiacPtolemySadalsuud19:40.02+03o 24.65’NQ41.58%22
AriesAriRamZodiacPtolemyHamal02:38.16+20o 47.54’NQ11.07%39
CancerCncCrabZodiacPtolemyTarf21:02.93?18o 01.39’SQ41.00%40
CapricornusCapGoat (Seagoat)ZodiacPtolemyDeneb Algiedi02:32.64+71o 00.51’NQ41.42%27
GeminiGemTwinsZodiacPtolemyPollux07:04.24+22o 36.01’NQ21.25%30
LeoLeoLionZodiacPtolemyRegulus10:40.03+13o 08.32’NQ22.30%12
LibraLibScalesZodiacPtolemyZubeneshamali10:14.72+32o 08.08’NQ20.56%64
PiscesPscFishesZodiacPtolemyAlpherg22:17.07?30o 38.53’SQ40.59%60
SagittariusSgrArcherZodiacPtolemyKaus Australis16:53.24?27o 01.89’SQ31.20%33
ScorpiusScoScorpionZodiacPtolemyAntares18:40.39?09o 53.32’SQ40.26%84
TaurusTauBullZodiacPtolemyAldebaran04:42.13+14o 52.63’NQ11.93%17
VirgoVirVirginZodiacPtolemySpica13:24.39?04o 09.51’SQ33.14%2
Northern & Zodiacal Constellations In The Western Tradition.   IUA – International Astronomical Union three-letter abbreviation.   Meaning – Historical association of the constellation.   Family – refers to the constellation families introduced by Donald Menzel in 1975. Constellation families are collections of constellations sharing some defining characteristic, such as proximity on the celestial sphere, common historical origin, or common mythological theme. Heav. Wat. = Heavenly Waters.   Origin – First official mention of the constellation.  Ptolemy – one of the ancient constellations (many throughout antiquity) catalogues in “The Almagest.”  1592, Plancius  – Published in “Nova et exacta terrarum tabula geographica et hydrographica.“ Columba was split from Canis Major.  1613, Plancius – Introduction of eight new constellations (published in Amsterdam).  1603, Uranomet. – Constellation defined in “Uranometria: omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata, aereis laminis expressa” ("Uranometria, containing charts of all the constellations, drawn by a new method and engraved on copper plates"), produced by Johann Bayer.   1690, Hevelius – Constellation published in “Firmamentum Sobiescianum,” by Johannes Hevelius.  1763, Lacaille– One of 14 constellations added in “Coelum Australe Stelliferum,” published posthumously byNicolas-Louis de Lacaille.   Brightest Star – The brightest star in the constellation.   R.A. – Right Ascension in hours, minutes, and seconds.   Dec. – Declination in degrees and minutes.   Quad. – Associated galactic quadrant.   %Sky – Percent of the sky the constellation takes up.   Rank – Rank (by size) of the constellation. Data and history taken from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_modern_constellations_by_area and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_modern_constellations; wikipedia content as of 17 Oct 2016.

Southern Constellations In The Western Tradition

Southern Con.IUAMeaningFamilyOriginBrightest StarR.A.Dec.Quad.%SkyRank
AntliaAntAirpumpLa Caille1763, Lacaillea Antliae10:16.43?32o 29.01’SQ20.58%62
ApusApsBird of ParadiseBayer1603, Uranomet.a Apodis16:08.65?75o 18.00’SQ30.50%67
AraAraAltarHerculesPtolemyb Arae17:22.49?56o 35.30’SQ30.57%63
CaelumCaeSculptor's ToolLa Caille1763, Lacaillea Caeli04:42.27?37o 52.90’SQ10.30%81
Canis MajorCMaGreat DogOrionPtolemySirius01:19.16+62o 11.04’NQ11.45%25
Canis MinorCMiLittle DogOrionPtolemyProcyon13:04.27?47o 20.72’SQ32.57%9
CarinaCarKeel (of Argo)1Heav. Wat.1763, LacailleCanopus01:40.10?07o 10.76’SQ12.99%4
CentaurusCenCentaurHerculesPtolemyAlpha Centauri14:34.54?63o 01.82’SQ30.23%85
CetusCetWhalePerseusPtolemyDeneb Kaitos07:39.17+06o 25.63’NQ20.44%71
ChamaeleonChaChameleonBayer1603, Uranomet.a Chamaeleontis08:38.96+19o 48.35’NQ21.23%31
CircinusCirCompassesLa Caille1763, Lacaillea Circini05:51.76?35o 05.67’SQ10.65%54
ColumbaColDoveHeav. Wat.1592, PlanciusPhact12:47.27+23o 18.34’NQ30.94%42
Corona AustralisCrASouthern CrownHerculesPtolemyAlphekka Meridiana15:50.59+32o 37.49’NQ30.43%73
CorvusCrvCrow (Raven)HerculesPtolemyGienah12:26.99?60o 11.19’SQ30.17%88
CraterCrtCupHerculesPtolemyLabrum12:26.52?18o 26.20’SQ30.45%70
CruxCruSouthern CrossHercules1603, Uranomet.Acrux13:06.96+40o 06.11’NQ31.13%38
DoradoDorSword/GoldfishBayer1603, Uranomet.a Doradus05:14.51?59o 23.22’SQ10.43%72
EridanusEriEridanus (river)Heav. Wat.PtolemyAchernar03:18.02?28o 45.37’SQ12.76%6
FornaxForFurnaceLa Caille1763, LacailleFornacis02:47.88?31o 38.07’SQ10.96%41
GrusGruCraneBayer1603, Uranomet.Alnair22:27.39?46o 21.11’SQ40.89%45
HorologiumHorClockLa Caille1763, Lacaillea Horologii03:16.56?53o 20.18’SQ10.60%58
HydrusHyiWater SnakeBayer1603, Uranomet.b Hydri02:20.65?69o 57.39’SQ10.59%61
IndusIndIndianBayer1603, Uranomet.The Persian21:58.33?59o 42.40’SQ40.71%49
LepusLepHareOrionPtolemyArneb15:11.96?15o 14.08’SQ31.30%29
LupusLupWolfHerculesPtolemyMen15:13.21?42o 42.53’SQ30.81%46
MensaMenTable/mountainLa Caille1763, Lacaillea Mensae05:24.90?77o 30.24’SQ10.37%75
MicroscopiumMicMicroscopeLa Caille1763, Lacailleg Microscopii20:57.88?36o 16.49’SQ40.51%66
MonocerosMonUnicornOrion1613, Planciusb Monocerotis07:03.63+00o 16.93’NQ21.17%35
MuscaMusSouthern FlyBayer1603, Uranomet.a Muscae12:35.28?70o 09.66’SQ30.34%77
NormaNorStraightedgeLa Caille1763, Lacailleg2 Normae15:54.18?51o 21.09’SQ30.40%74
OctansOctOctantLa Caille1763, Lacaillenu Oct23:00.00?82o 09.12’SQ40.71%50
OrionOriOrionOrionPtolemyRigel05:34.59+05o 56.94’NQ11.44%26
PavoPavPeacockBayer1603, Uranomet.Peacock19:36.71?65o 46.89’SQ40.92%44
PhoenixPhePhoenixBayer1603, Uranomet.Ankaa00:55.91?48o 34.84’SQ11.14%37
PictorPicPainter (Easel)La Caille1763, Lacaillea Pictoris05:42.46?53o 28.45’SQ10.60%59
Piscis AustrinusPsASouthern FishHeav. Wat.PtolemyFomalhaut00:28.97+13o 41.23’NQ12.16%14
PuppisPupPoop (of Argo)Heav. Wat.1763, LacailleNaos07:15.48?31o 10.64’SQ21.63%20
PyxisPyxMariner CompassHeav. Wat.1763, Lacaillea Pyxidis08:57.16?27o 21.10’SQ20.54%65
ReticulumRetNetLa Caille1763, Lacaillea Reticuli03:55.27?59o 59.85’SQ10.28%82
SculptorSclSculptorLa Caille1763, Lacaillea Sculptoris16:57.04+06o 07.32’NQ31.54%23
SextansSexSextantHercules1690, Heveliusa Sextantis19:05.94?28o 28.61’SQ42.10%15
TelescopiumTelTelescopeLa Caille1763, Lacaillea Telescopii19:19.54?51o 02.21’SQ40.61%57
Triang. AustraleTrASouth. TriangleHercules1603, Uranomet.Atria02:11.07+31o 28.56’NQ10.32%78
TucanaTucToucanBayer1603, Uranomet.a Tucanae23:46.64?65o 49.80’SQ40.71%48
VelaVelSail (of Argo)Heav. Wat.1763, LacailleRegor09:34.64?47o 10.03’SQ21.21%32
VolansVolFlying FishBayer1603, Uranomet.b Volantis07:47.73?69o 48.07’SQ20.34%76
Southern Constellations In The Western Tradition.   IUA – International Astronomical Union three-letter abbreviation.   Meaning – Historical association of the constellation.   Family – refers to the constellation families introduced by Donald Menzel in 1975. Constellation families are collections of constellations sharing some defining characteristic, such as proximity on the celestial sphere, common historical origin, or common mythological theme. Heav. Wat. = Heavenly Waters.   Origin – First official mention of the constellation.  Ptolemy – one of the ancient constellations (many throughout antiquity) catalogues in “The Almagest.”  1592, Plancius  – Published in “Nova et exacta terrarum tabula geographica et hydrographica.“ Columba was split from Canis Major.  1613, Plancius – Introduction of eight new constellations (published in Amsterdam).  1603, Uranomet. – Constellation defined in “Uranometria: omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata, aereis laminis expressa” ("Uranometria, containing charts of all the constellations, drawn by a new method and engraved on copper plates"), produced by Johann Bayer.   1690, Hevelius – Constellation published in “Firmamentum Sobiescianum,” by Johannes Hevelius.  1763, Lacaille– One of 14 constellations added in “Coelum Australe Stelliferum,” published posthumously byNicolas-Louis de Lacaille.   Brightest Star – The brightest star in the constellation.   R.A. – Right Ascension in hours, minutes, and seconds.   Dec. – Declination in degrees and minutes.   Quad. – Associated galactic quadrant.   %Sky – Percent of the sky the constellation takes up.   Rank – Rank (by size) of the constellation. Data and history taken from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_modern_constellations_by_area and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_modern_constellations; wikipedia content as of 17 Oct 2016.

Top (Exceptional) Asteroids

Top AsteroidsDiam. (km)DimensionsM. Dst. (AU)DiscoveryDiscovererClassMass (1018 kg)%MTotMag.Max
1 Ceres*946±2965×962×8912.7661 Jan 1801Piazzi, G.G939.331%6.65
4 Vesta525.4±0.2572.6×557.2×446.42.36229 Mar 1807Olbers, H. W.V259.0768.60%5.20
2 Pallas512±3550±4×516±3×476±32.77328 Mar1802Olbers, H. W.B201.06.70%6.49
10 Hygiea431±7530×407×3703.13912 Apr 1849de Gasparis, A.C86.72.90% 
704 Interamnia326350×3043.0622 Oct 2010Cerulli, V.F58.11.90% 
52 Europa315380×330×2503.0954 Feb 1858Goldschmidt, H.C38.81.30% 
511 Davida289357×294×2313.16830 May 2003Dugan, R. S.C37.71.30% 
87 Sylvia286385×265×2303.48516 May 1866Pogson, N. R.X33.01.10% 
65 Cybele273302×290×2323.4398 Mar 1861Tempel, E. W.C31.81.10% 
15 Eunomia268357×255×2122.64329 Jul 1851de Gasparis, A.S28.60.95%7.9
3 Juno258320×267×2002.6721 Sep 1804Harding, K. L.S22.70.76%7.5
31 Euphrosyne256 3.1491 Sep 1854Ferguson, J.C22.70.76% 
624 Hektor241370×195(×195)5.23510 Feb 2007Kopff, A.D18.30.61% 
88 Thisbe232221×201×1682.76915 Jun 1866Peters, C. H. F.B16.20.54% 
324 Bamberga229 2.68425 Feb 1892Palisa, J.C16.00.53%8.0
451 Patientia225 3.0594 Dec 1899Charlois, A. 16.00.53% 
532 Herculina222 2.77220 Apr 2004Wolf, M.S15.20.51% 
48 Doris222278×1423.10819 Sep 1857Goldschmidt, H.C14.780.49% 
375 Ursula216 3.12618 Sep 1893Charlois, A. 12.00.40% 
107 Camilla215285×205×1703.47617 Nov 1868Pogson, N. R.C   
45 Eugenia213305×220×1452.7227 Jun 1857Goldschmidt, H.F   
7 Iris213240×200×2002.38613 Aug 1847Hind, J. R.S  6.73
29 Amphitrite212233×212×1932.5541 Mar 1854Marth, A.S   
423 Diotima209171×1383.0657 Dec 1896Charlois, A.C   
19 Fortuna208225×205×1952.44222 Aug 1852Hind, J. R.G   
13 Egeria206217×1962.5762 Nov 1850de Gasparis, A.G   
24 Themis198 3.1365 Apr 1853de Gasparis, A.C   
94 Aurora197225×1733.166 Sep 1867Watson, J. C.C   
702 Alauda195 3.19516 Jul 2010Helffrich, J.    
121 Hermione190268×186×1833.45712 May 1872Watson, J. C.C   
259 Aletheia190 3.13528 Jun 1886Peters, C. H. F.CP/X   
372 Palma189 3.14919 Aug 1893Charlois, A.    
128 Nemesis188 2.75125 Nov 1872Watson, J. C.C   
6 Hebe186205×185×1702.4261 Jul 1847Hencke, K. L.S  7.5
16 Psyche186240×185×1452.92417 Mar 1852de Gasparis, A.M   
120 Lachesis174 3.30110 Apr 1872Borrelly, A.C   
41 Daphne174213×1602.76522 May 1856Goldschmidt, H.C   
9 Metis174222×182×1302.38525 Apr 1848Graham, A.S  8.1
Top (Exceptional) Asteroids.   Diam. (km) – Asteroid Belt object diameter as calculated by geometric mean.   Dimensions – X,Y,Z-approximate dimensions in kilometers (as available).   Mn. Dst. (AU) – Mean distance from the Sun in Astronomical Units (1 AU = 149 million km = distance from the Sun to the Earth along the semi-major axis).   Discovery – day, month, and year of discovery.   Discoverer – Person associated with the discovery.    Class – Asteroid spectral type. The most widely used taxonomy for over a decade has been that of David J. Tholen, first proposed in 1984. This classification was developed from broad band spectra (between 0.31 ?m and 1.06 ?m) obtained during the Eight-Color Asteroid Survey (ECAS) in the 1980s, in combination with albedo measurements. The original formulation was based on 978 asteroids. This scheme includes 14 types with the majority of asteroids falling into one of three broad categories, and several smaller types. They are, with their largest exemplars:  C-group dark carbonaceous objects. B-type (2 Pallas), F-type (704 Interamnia), G-type (1 Ceres), C-type (10 Hygiea), the remaining majority of 'standard' C-type asteroids. S-type (15 Eunomia, 3 Juno) silicaceous (or "stony") objects. X-group M-type (16 Psyche) metallic objects, the third most populous group. E-type (44 Nysa, 55 Pandora) differ from M-type mostly by high albedo. P-type (259 Aletheia, 190 Ismene; CP: 324 Bamberga) differ from M-type mostly by low albedo. The small classes: A-type (246 Asporina), D-type (624 Hektor), T-type (96 Aegle), Q-type (1862 Apollo), R-type (349 Dembowska), V-type (4 Vesta). Objects were sometimes assigned a combined type such as e.g. CG when their properties were a combination of those typical for several types.   Mass (1018 kg) – total mass (x 1018 kg).   %MTot – Percent total mass of this objects to the total Asteroid Belt mass.  Mag.Max – Apparent magnitude when brightest.  All data and most of the text from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_exceptional_asteroids; wikipedia content as of 17 Oct 2016. * = Ceres is now a designated dwarf planet.

50 Brightest Stars (And Sun)

StarsNameConstellationBayer IDV.Mag.A.Mag.Dist.(ly)Spect.ClassLum.(Sol)Mass(Sol)Diam.(Sol)R.A.Dec.
0Sunn/an/a-26.744.831.5×10-5G2V1.01.01.019:04+63° 54’
1SiriusCanis MajorAlp CMa-1.441.458.6A1V252.01.706:45-16° 42’
2CanopusCarinaAlp Car-0.62-5.53310F0Ib13,6008.565.006:24-52° 42’
3Rigil Kent.CentaurusAlp Cen-0.28c4.344.4G2V+K1V1.51.11.214:40-60° 48’
4ArcturusBootesAlp Boo-0.05v-0.3136.7K2III1701.126.014:16+19° 12’
5VegaLyraAlp Lyr0.03v0.5825.3A0V372.12.318:37+38° 48’
6CapellaAurigaAlp Aur0.08v-0.4842.2G5III+G0II792.712.005:17+46° 00’
7RigelOrionBet Ori0.18v-6.69770B8Ia66,00017.078.005:15-8° 12’
8ProcyonCanis MinorAlp CMi0.42.6811.4F5IV-V7.71.52.007:39+5° 12’
9BetelgeuseOrionAlp Ori0.45v-5.14430M2Ib105,00018.0936.005:55+7° 24’
10AchernarEridanusAlp Eri0.45v-2.77144B3V3,300XXX10.001:38-57° 12’
11HadarCentaurusBet Cen0.61v-5.42525B1III16,00010.78.014:04-60° 24’
12AltairAquilaAlp Aql0.76v2.2016.8A7V10.61.81.819:51+8° 54’
13AcruxCruxAlp Cru0.77c-4.19320B0.5IV+B1V25,00014?12:27-63° 06’
14AldebaranTaurusAlp Tau0.87-0.6365.1K5III4251.744.204:36+16° 30’
15SpicaVirgoAlp Vir0.98v-3.55260B1V+B2V13,40011.07.813:25-11° 12’
16AntaresScorpiusAlp Sco1.06v-5.28605M1Ib+B4V65,00015.5800.016:29-26° 24’
17PolluxGeminiBet Gem1.161.0933.7K0III321.98.007:45+28° 00’
18FomalhautPiscis AustrinusAlp PsA1.171.7425.1A3V17.72.11.822:58-29° 30’
19DenebCygnusAlp Cyg1.25v-8.733200A2Ia54,00020.0110.020:41+45° 18’
20MimosaCruxBet Cru1.25v-3.92350B0.5III34,00014.08.012:48-59° 42’
21RegulusLeoAlp Leo1.36-0.5277.5B7V1503.53.210:08+12° 00’
22AdharaCanis MajorEps CMa1.5-4.10430B2II20,00010.0?06:59-29° 00’
23CastorGeminiAlp Gem1.58c0.5951.5A1V+A2V30/142.2/1.72.3/1.607:35+31° 54’
24GacruxCruxGam Cru1.59v-0.5687.9M3.5III1,5003.0113.012:31-57° 06’
25ShaulaScorpiusLam Sco1.62v-5.05700B2IV?10.46.217:34-37° 06’
26BellatrixOrionGam Ori1.64-2.72240B2III21,5008.05.705:25+6° 18’
27ElnathTaurusBet Tau1.65-1.37131B7III704.55.505:26+28° 36’
28MiaplacidusCarinaBet Car1.67-0.99111A2III2103.05.709:13-69° 42’
29AlnilamOrionEps Ori1.69v-6.381300B0Ia375,00040.026.005:36-1° 12’
30AlnairGrusAlp Gru1.73-0.73101B7IV3804.03.622:08-47° 00’
31AlnitakOrionZet Ori1.74c-5.26820O9.5Ib+B0I100,00028.020.005:41-1° 54’
32RegorVelaGam Vel1.75v-5.31840WC8+O9Ib100,00030.013.008:10-47° 18’
33AliothUrsa MajorEps UMa1.76v-0.2180.9A0IV1083.03.712:54+56° 00’
34Kaus Aust.SagittariusEps Sgr1.79-1.44145B9.5III3755.07.018:24-34° 24’
35MirfakPerseusAlp Per1.79-4.50590F5Ib5,40011.056.003:24+49° 54’
36DubheUrsa MajorAlp UMa1.81-1.08124K0III+F0V3004.030.011:04+61° 48’
37WezenCanis MajorDel CMa1.83-6.871800F8Ia50,00017.0200.007:08-26° 24’
38AlkaidUrsa MajorEta UMa1.85-0.60101B3V7006.01.813:48+49° 18’
39SargasScorpiusThe Sco1.86c-2.75270F1II9603.720.017:37-43° 00’
40AviorCarinaEps Car1.86v-4.58630K3II+B2V6/11 K4.6/16153.0/6.008:23-59° 30’
41MenkalinanAurigaBet Aur1.90v-0.1082.1A2IV482.42.806:00+44° 54’
42AtriaTriang.AustraleAlp TrA1.91-3.62415K2Ib-II5,5007.0?16:49-69° 00’
43Koo SheVelaDel Vel1.93-0.0179.7A0V???08:45-54° 42’
44AlhenaGeminiGam_Gem1.93-0.60105A0IV1602.84.406:38+16° 24’
45PeacockPavoAlp Pav1.94-1.81180B0.5V+B2V2,1005.04.420:26-56° 42’
46PolarisUrsa MinorAlp UMi1.97v-3.64430F7Ib-II2,2007.530.002:32+89° 18’
47MirzamCanis MajorBet CMa1.98v-3.95500B1III19,000??06:23-18° 00’
48AlphardHydraAlp Hya1.99-1.69180K3II?3.050.509:28-8° 42’
49AlgiebaLeoGam Leo2.01-0.92126K0III+G7II320/501.2332.010:20+19° 48’
50HamalAriesAlp Ari2.010.4865.9K2III902.015.002:07+23° 30’
50 Brightest Stars (And Sun):  Name – Star name.   Constellation – Associated constellation.   Bayer ID – Non-name designation with its associated constellation.  V.Mag. – Apparent visible magnitude from Earth (v = variable, c = combined for the multi-star system).   A.Mag. – Absolute magnitude, the hypothetical apparent magnitude of an object at a standard distance of exactly 10 parsecs (32.6 light years) from the observer, assuming no astronomical extinction of starlight.   Dist.(ly) – Distance (in light years).   Spect.Class – Spectral Class. See Class Table.   Lum.(Sol) – Luminosity relative to the Sun.   Mass(Sol) – Mass relative to the Sun (Solar mass = 1.98855±0.00025 ×1030 kg).  Diam.(Sol) – Diameter relative to the Sun (Solar diameter = 1,391,400 km).   R.A. – Right ascension in hours and minutes.   Dec. – Declination in degrees and minutes. A number of different luminosity classes are distinguished; 0 or Ia+ (hypergiants or extremely luminous supergiants). Example: Cygnus OB2#12 (B3-4Ia+); Ia (luminous supergiants). Example: Eta Canis Majoris (B5Ia); Iab (intermediate luminous supergiants). Example: Gamma Cygni (F8Iab); Ib (less luminous supergiants). Example: Zeta Persei (B1Ib); II bright giants. Example: Beta Leporis (G0II); III normal giants. Example: Arcturus (K0III); IV subgiants. Example: Gamma Cassiopeiae (B0.5IVpe); V main-sequence stars (dwarfs). Example: Achernar (B6Vep); sd (prefix) subdwarfs. Example: HD 149382 (sdB5); D (prefix) white dwarfs. Example: van Maanen 2 (DZ8); The apparent magnitude (m) of a celestial object is a number that is a measure of its brightness as seen by an observer on Earth. The brighter an object appears, the lower its magnitude value (i.e. inverse relation). The Sun, at apparent magnitude of ?27, is the brightest object in the sky. It is adjusted to the value it would have in the absence of the atmosphere. Furthermore, the magnitude scale is logarithmic; a difference of one in magnitude corresponds to a change in brightness by a factor of 5th root of 100100 5 {\displaystyle {\sqrt[{5}]{100}}} , or about 2.512.   Class Table:  FAMSS – fraction of all main sequence stars. ? = Sun (“with respect to”). Data from astropixels.com/stars/brightstars.html (with thanks to Fred Espenak for reprinting permissions), en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_brightest_stars, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_classification, and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_magnitude; wikipedia content as of 17 Oct 2016.
ClassEffect. Temp.Vega-Rel Color LabelChromaticityMain-Seq. MassMain-Seq. RadiusMain-Seq. LuminosityH LinesFAMSS
O? 30k Kblueblue> 16 M(Sol)> 6.6 R(Sol)> 30,000 L(Sol)Weak~0.00003%
B10k–30k Kblue whitedeep blue white2.1–16 M(Sol)1.8–6.6 R(Sol)25–30,000 L(Sol)Medium0.13%
A7.5k–10k Kwhiteblue white1.4–2.1 M(Sol)1.4–1.8 R(Sol)5–25 L(Sol)Strong0.60%
F6k–7.5k Kyellow whitewhite1.04–1.4 M(Sol)1.15–1.4 R(Sol)1.5–5 L(Sol)Medium3%
G5.2k–6k Kyellowyellowish white0.8–1.04 M(Sol)0.96–1.15 R(Sol)0.6–1.5 L(Sol)Weak7.60%
K3.7k–5.2k Korangepale yellow orange0.45–0.8 M(Sol)0.7–0.96 R(Sol)0.08–0.6 L(Sol)Very weak12.10%
M2,400–3,700 Kredlight orange red0.08-0.45 M(Sol)< 0.7 R(Sol)< 0.08 L(Sol)Very weak76.45%