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Constellations (3 days)
Big Idea
As the Earth orbits around the sun, different constellations are visible. Some constellations are visible year round because the axis of Earth tilts towards Polaris.
Essential Questions
Why are certain constellations visible from the Northern Hemisphere at different times of the year? Why do some constellations appear in the night sky year round? How can you find the five major constellations (Orion, Ursa Major, Cygnus, Scorpius, and Cassiopeia) in the night sky?

Identify the following major constellations visible (seasonally) from the Northern Hemisphere
  • Orion
  • Ursa Major (Great Bear)
  • Cygnus
  • Scorpius
  • Cassiopeia
Research the constellations.
Content/Core Ideas
Stars that are in a constellation may be millions of miles apart and have very different magnitudes or brightness. Constellations were an important navigation tool to explorers. Ursa Major and Cassiopeia are northern circumpolar constellations that can be seen all year long in the night sky of the northern hemisphere. Cygnus and Scorpius are northern Summer constellations. Orion is a northern Winter constellation.
Academic Vocabulary
  • constellations
  • Polaris
  • Betelguese
  • Rigel
  • Big Dipper
  • Sirius
  • Antares
Construct an explanation for why we only see some constellations in the Northern Hemisphere.