The Celestial Sphere from Latitude 45° North

0100 Hours Sidereal Time

The sky from 45°N at 0100 hours sidereal time

This page contains a description of the stars, constellations, and deep-sky objects that can be seen in the sky at around 0100 hours sidereal time. It is assumed that the observer is located at approximately 45° latitude north.

To use the sky map, orient it so that the direction you are facing is at the bottom of the map. Zenith, the point directly overhead in the sky, is located at the centre of the map.

Looking North

The asterism of the 'Big Dipper' or 'Plough' (which is the most well-known part of the constellation Ursa Major) is positioned right-side-up low on the horizon. The two stars marking the end of the bowl of the 'Big Dipper' point at the second magnitude star Polaris which marks the end of the handle of the 'Little Dipper' as the constellation Ursa Minor is often known. Polaris is approximately 1° from the north celestial pole so the sky appears to rotate around this star. Winding between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor is the snakelike Draco. The 'lozenge' of four stars marking the head of the dragon is very near the bright star Vega in the northwest. Blue-white Vega is the brightest star in the small constellation Lyra. Above Lyra is Cygnus or the 'Northern Cross'. The brightest star in this constellation is Deneb, and with Vega and Altair, make up a well-known summertime asterism called the 'Summer Triangle'. The star at the opposite end of Cygnus from Deneb is called Albireo. Seen through binoculars or a telescope, it resolves into a brilliantly coloured binary star.

High overhead is a M-shaped constellation called Cassiopeia. To the west of Cassiopeia is her consort from Greek mythology, Cepheus, and above her is her daughter Andromeda. To the east is Perseus, another character from this particular myth. The bright yellow star to the east of Cassiopeia is Capella, the brightest star in the constellation Auriga. Continuing east, the constellation Gemini is just rising. The two bright stars in this constellation are Castor and Pollux.

Looking South

The brilliant winter constellations are making their appearances in the eastern sky. Orion is the large hourglass-shaped figure with red Betelgeuse in the upper left hand corner and blue-white Rigel in the lower right hand corner. Betelgeuse marks the shoulder of the giant and on this side he is raising a club over his head. The three stars in the belt of Orion point upward to a bright star in Taurus called Aldebaran. The small V-shape of stars near Aldebaran is actually an open cluster called the Hyades. The line from the belt of Orion through Aldebaran continues to another open cluster called M45, the Pleiades.

The southern sky is largely devoid of bright stars near the horizon. The faint zodiacal constellations Aries and Pisces are just below the more noticable 'Great Square' of Pegasus. Connected to Pegasus on the upper left hand corner of the 'Great Square' is the constellation of Andromeda. This constellation contains the most distant object visible to the naked eye, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. This is a spiral galaxy similar to our own but located approximately 2.5 million light years away.

As the winter constellations appear in the east, the summer constellations are setting in the west. Aquila with its bright star Altair is sinking rapidly and tiny Delphinus, a kite-shaped constellation, is following hard behind. The faint zodiacal constellation Capricornus is disappearing below the horizon and Aquarius will soon join it out of sight.