star constellations

apparent vs. real distances

Although the stars in a constellation appear close together as we see them in our night sky, they are not at all close together out in space. In the constellation Orion, the stars visible to the naked eye are at distances ranging from just 26 light-years (which is relatively close to Earth) to several thousand light-years away. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:


There is no reason to think that the alignment of the stars has anything to do with events that happen on Earth. The constellations were defined by people who noticed that patterns could be made from stars, but the patterns do not reflect any characteristics of the stars themselves. When scientific tests are done to provide evidence in support of astrological ideas, the tests fail. When a scientific idea fails, it is abandoned or modified. Astrologers do not change or abandon their ideas. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:


When you look at the sky on a clear night, you can see dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of tiny points of light. Almost every one of these points of light is a star, a giant ball of glowing gas at a very, very high temperature. Stars differ in size, temperature, and age, but they all appear to be made up of the same elements and to behave according to the same principles.


People of many different cultures, including the Greeks, identified patterns of stars in the sky. We call these patterns constellations. Figure 1.1 shows one of the most easily recognized constellations. Why do the patterns in constellations and in groups or clusters of stars, called asterisms, stay the same night after night? Although the stars move across the sky, they stay in the same patterns. This is because the apparent nightly motion of the stars is actually caused by the rotation of Earth on its axis. The patterns also shift in the sky with the seasons as Earth revolves around the Sun. As a result, people in a particular location can see different constellations in the winter than in the summer. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere Orion is a prominent constellation in the winter sky, but not in the summer sky. This is the annual traverse of the constellations.


instructional diagrams

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this ancient civilization created the zodiac.

a) mayan

b) aztecs

-->  c) babylonian

d) indus

stars are

-->  a) giant balls of high temperature, glowing gas

b) all the same size, temperature and age.

c) objects that do not conform to a single set of principles.

d) all of the above.

stars in a constellation appear close together, but most are not at all close together in space.

-->  a) true

b) false

why do stars move across the sky each night?

a) the stars are all moving through from east to west relative to the earth.

-->  b) earth is rotating on its axis.

c) the universe is expanding due to the big bang.

d) all of the above.

babylonian astronomers created the zodiac to explain natural phenomena that we can now explain with science.

-->  a) true

b) false

the alignment of stars in the sky, particularly the patterns of the constellations when a person is born, affects events on earth.

a) true

-->  b) false

asterisms are

a) groups of stars that formed together and stay in the same patterns.

-->  b) patterns of stars that appear the same way from earth.

c) patterns of stars that change configuration seasonally.

d) none of the above

in winter and in summer, people in a given location see

a) the same constellations.

b) only a few constellations.

-->  c) different constellations.

d) none of these.

when an idea in astrology fails, it is altered or abandoned to fit the new data.

a) true

-->  b) false

diagram questions

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