Planet Earth
International Astronomical Union WGSN

Modern Constellations

Tracing modern constellations

Ian Ridpath: Star Tales

(originally published in 1988,
revised editions since then,
Ian’s website)

The tales of the modern constellations:
who invented them in the Early Modern Age and what legends did Ovid and the ancients tell?

In alphabetical order each of the constellations is described in an own chapter.

Hoffmann: Wie der Löwe an den Himmel kam

(published 2021 in German only but the images speak their own language.)

The book explains the history of all 88 constellations, constellation by constellation, dedicating 2 to 4 pages for each of them. It is grouping them by the seasons of visibility and demonstrating that many of the constellations are not understandable individually but only with regard to their neighbours.

As an extension of Ridpath’s book, this book also compares the Babylonian constellations at the given area of the sky demonstrating that there are many deviations.

Title of the book: Hoffmann (2021)

Today, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has defined these 88 constellations (and 89 constellation names). 

IAU-NameAbbr.EnglishEuropean Original NamesourceBabylonianGerman translationpage
in Hoffmann’s Book
1AndromedaAndChained MaidenAndromeda (Greek)antiquityAnunituPrinzessin
Andromeda
114
2AntliaAntAir Pumpla Machina PneumatiqueLacaille
(French)
Luftpumpe190
3ApusApsBird of Paradisede Paradijs VoghelDutchParadiesvogel76
4AquariusAqrWater BearerBabylonianGod Ea/ EnkiWassermann93
5AquilaAqlEagleBabylonianEagle and CorpseAdler86
6AraAraAltarGreekAltar62
CarinaCarKeelle CorpsLacailleSchiffskiel172
7ArgoArgShipPuppisPupSternPouppeLacailleAchterschiff
PyxisPyxCompassle BoussoleLacailleKompass
VelaVelSailla VoilureLacailleSegel
8AriesAriRamantiquityHired ManWidder130
9AurigaAurCharioteerGreekThe Crook
(a weapon)
Fuhrmann168
10BoötesBooHerdsmanPloughmanantiquityShupa/ God EnlilSchäfer, Wächter, Ochsentreiber44
11CaelumCaeEngraving Toolles BurinsLacaille
(French)
Grabstichel193
12CamelopardalisCamGiraffePlancius (?)Giraffe141
13CancerCncCrabBabylonianCrab, Seat of God AnuKrebs178
14Canes VenaticiCVnHunting DogsEnglishJagdhunde38
15Canis MajorCMaGreat DogGreekArrowGroßer Hund160
16Canis MinorCMiLittle DogProkyonGreekKleiner Hund163
17CapricornusCapSea GoatBabylonianGoat-FishSteinbock /
Ziegenfisch
96
18CassiopeiaCasSeated QueenKassiepeiaGreekPloughKönigin
Cassiopeia
118
19,
20
Centaurus +
Lupus
Cen
Lup
Centaur,
Wolf
Greek
Babylonian
– – ? – –
Rabid Dog
Kentaur
Wolf
68
21CepheusCepKingKepheusGreekKönig Kepheus120
22CetusCetSea MonsterGreekGiant SwallowSeeungeheuer
Ketos
125
23ChamaeleonChaChameleonhet ChameljoenDutchChamäleon78
24CircinusCirCompassle CompassLacaille
(French)
Zirkel73
25ColumbaColDovePlanciusTaube176
26Coma BerenikesComBerenice’s HairGreek
(Konon)
Spadix of Date PalmHaar der Berenike186
27Corona AustralisCrASouthern CrownRoman
(Ptolemaios)
Südliche Krone100
28Corona BorealisCrBNorthern CrownantiquityAsterism of DignityNördliche Krone46
29CraterCrtCupKraterGreekKrater56
30CruxCruSouthern Cross[to Cen]Christian-Italian,
14th to 16th Jh.
Kreuz71
31CygnusCygSwanBirdGreekSchwan84
32DelphinusDelDolphinGreekDelphin91
33DoradoDorSwordfishden DoradoDutchGoldmakrele196
34DracoDraDragonSnakeGreekDrache40
35EquuleusEquLittle HorseRoman (Ptolemaios)Fohlen/ Füllen140
36EridanusEriRiverRiverGreekFluss Eridanus170
37FornaxForFurnacele FourneauLacaille
(French)
Chemischer Ofen146
38GeminiGemTwinsBabylonianZwillinge166
39GrusGruCraneden ReygherDutchKranich105
40HerculesHerHerculesthe KneelerGreekHerkules42
41HorologiumHorClockl’HorlogeLacaille
(French)
Pendeluhr144
42,
43
Corvus
Hydra
Crv
Hya
Crow
Water Snake
BabylonianRabe
Wasserschlange
52
44HydrusHyiMale Water Snakede WaterslangDutchWasser-
schlangerich 😉
148
45IndusIndIndiande IndiaenDutchEingeborener106
46LacertaLacLizardHevelius
(Polish)
Eidechse143
47LeoLeoLionBabyloniana demon with a gaping mouthLöwe182
48Leo MinorLMiLesser LionHevelius
(Polish)
Kleiner Löwe185
49LepusLepHareGreekRoosterHase164
50LibraLibScalesBabylonianWaage60
51LynxLynLynxHevelius
(Polish)
Luchs189
52LyraLyrLyreGreekGoddess GulaLyra/ Leier82
53MensaMenTable Mountainla Montagne de la TableLacaille
(French)
Tafelgebirge192
54MicroscopiumMicMicroscopeLacaille
(French)
Mikroskop109
55MonocerosMonUnicornPlancius ?Einhorn177
56MuscaMusFlyde VliegheDutchFliege72
57NormaNorCarpenter’s Squarel’Equerre et la RègleLacaille
(French)
Maß74
58OctansOctOctantl’Octans de RéflecionLacaille
(French)
Oktant111
59,
60
Ophiuchus,
Serpens
Oph
Ser
Serpent Bearer
Serpent
antiquity
Greek
God ZababaSchlangenträger
Schlange
64
61OrionOriHunterantiquityHeavenly ShepherdOrion156
62PavoPavPeacockDutchde PauwPfau107
63PegasusPegWinged HorseHorse (Greek)antiquityfield measure “one Iku”, Seat of God EaPegasus138
64PerseusPerHeroantiquityOld ManPerseus122
65PhoenixPhePhoenixde Voghel FenicxDutchPhönix150
66PictorPicPainter’s Easelle Chévalet et la PaletteLacaille
(French)
Malerstaffelei152
67PiscesPscFishesantiquityTails of the Giant SwallowFische127
68Piscis AustrinusPsASouthern FishBabylonianSüdlicher Fisch98
69ReticulumRetReticleRéticule RhomboïdeLacaille
(French)
Netz195
70SagittaSgeArrowGreekPfeil89
71SagittariusSgrArcherBabylonianGod PabilsangSchütze102
72ScorpiusScoScorpionBabylonianSkorpion58
73SculptorSclSculptorl’Atelier du SculpteurLacaille
(French)
Bildhauer153
74ScutumSctShieldScutum SobiescianumHevelius
(Polish)
Schild104
75SextansSexSextantHeveliusSextant188
76TaurusTauBullBabylonianHeavenly BullStier134
77TelescopiumTelTelescopele TélescopeLacaille
(French)
Teleskop110
78TriangulumTriTriangleDeltaGreekDreieck133
79Triangulum AustraleTrASouthern Triangleden Zuyder TrianghelDutchSüdliches Dreieck75
80TucanaTucToucanden Indiaenschen Exster, op Indies Lang ghenaemtDutchTukan108
81Ursa MajorUMaGreat BearGreekChariot or Wagon (for goods, not war)Große Bärin34
82Ursa MinorUMiLittle BearGreekChariot or Wagon (for Goods)Kleine Bärin36
83VirgoVirMaidenBabylonianFurrow + Ear of GrainJungfrau/ Mädchen48
84VolansVolFlying Fishde Vliegende VischDutchFliegender Fisch79
85VulpeculaFoxVulpecula et AnserHeveliusFüchslein90