The Celestial Sphere from Latitude 45° North

0700 Hours Sidereal Time

The sky from 45°N at 0700 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 0700 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

Ursa Major is circling up into the sky. The part of this constellation that is most easily recognised, the 'Big Dipper' or 'Plough', is starting to tip upside-down. The star at the bend in the handle of the 'Big Dipper' is called Mizar. As a test of the darkness of the sky, try to locate its faint companion Alcor. The two stars at the end of the bowl of the 'Big Dipper' point toward the north celestial pole and Polaris, the current 'pole star'. Polaris is the brightest star in Ursa Minor. Slithering between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor is Draco whose lozenge-shaped head is scraping the ground.

In the northwest, Andromeda is nearing the horizon. Although not a bright constellation, it does contain at least one interesting object, M31. The Andromeda Galaxy, as M31 is popularly known, is a spiral galaxy in a group of galaxies containing our own Milky Way. It is also the farthest object that can be seen with the naked eye. The constellation of Andromeda was named for a heroine in a Greek myth and in fact her entire family is in the northern sky with her. The conspicuous M-shaped constellation is Cassiopeia, a queen and mother of Andromeda. Below Cassiopeia is her husband Cepheus and above her is Perseus who is Andromeda's rescuer. The bright yellow star just west of zenith is Capella in the constellation Auriga.

Except for Ursa Minor, the northeastern sky is largely devoid of bright stars.

Looking South

The best that the winter skies have to offer is on display. High in the east is Leo with Regulus marking the bottom of the asterism known as the 'Sickle'. Nearly overhead, the bright stars Castor and Pollux of the zodiacal constellation Gemini take precedence. Below Gemini is the brilliant Procyon of Canis Minor. Not only is it one of the brightest stars in the sky after the Sun but it is also one of the closest. The real 'Dog Star', however, is Sirius in Canis Major.

Orion is striding toward the west. The ruddy star on the upper left hand corner of this hourglass-shaped figure is Betelgeuse and the bluish star in the opposite corner is Rigel. The three stars Betelgeuse, Procyon and Sirius form an asterism called the 'Winter Triangle'. Orion holds a club high over his head. Below the three stars making up Orion's belt is a fuzzy smudge which is revealed in a telescope to be M42, the Great Orion Nebula. A line can be drawn from Sirius up through the belt stars which points at Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus. The V-shape of stars that surround Aldebaran actually form an open cluster called the Hyades. Aldebaran is not actually a part of this cluster as the eye of Taurus is somewhat closer to the us than the Hyades. The line continues up to M45, the Pleiades, another open cluster. Small telescopes can show faint nebulosity surrounding the stars in this cluster.