Milwaukee Astronomical Society

Stargazing Star Tours

Index to the Constellations

A Summary of the Constellations and the Features of Each

This page provides an alphabetical listing of the constellations that are described in one or more of the sky tours -- that is, those visible from latitude North 45°. Each constellation is linked to its (most detailed) description in the tours. With each constellation, its key astronomical features are listed. Note that some constellations have no astronomical features that would be of interest for a stargazing group, although there are other cool stories to tell for any given constellation. Follow the links to find all of these.


  1. Andromeda
    • Andromeda Galaxy
    • Blue Snowball
    • γ Andromedae
  2. Aquarius
  3. Aquila
    • Altair & Pilot Stars
    • η Aquilae
    • Wild Duck Cluster
  4. Aries
    • γ Arietis double star
    • λ Arietis double star
  5. Auriga
    • Capella
    • ε Aurigae eclipsing variable

    • The following are interesting for astronomy students, and I don't usually pursue them for stargazers.
    • M36, M37, & M38 Open Clusters
    • The Crab Nebula (really in Taurus, but I have it on the page for neighboring Auriga)
  6. Boötes
    • Arcturus
    • M3 Globular Cluster
  7. Cancer
    • The Beehive
  8. Canes Venatici
  9. Canis Major
    • Sirius
    • Adhara
    • M41 Open Cluster
  10. Canis Minor
    • Procyon
  11. Capricornus
    • α Capricornus (Giedi Prime)
  12. Cassiopeia
      Remarkably, Cassiopeia is not for stargazers, other than recognizing the "Big W" (and sweeping it with binoculars to see the amazing field of stars). There is an abundance of targets for the astronomers in your group, though. A couple are mentioned in the tours:
    • M52
    • NGC663
  13. Cepheus
    • μ Cephei
    • δ Cephei
  14. Cetus
    • Mira
  15. Coma Berenices
    • Galactic North Pole
    • Black Eye Galaxy
  16. Corona Borealis
    • α Corona Borealis
  17. Corvus
    • Sombrero Galaxy
      ...strictly speaking this is part of Virgo but you find it (most easily) off of the northeast corner of Corvus
  18. Crater
  19. Cygnus
    • Deneb
    • Albireo
  20. Delphinus
  21. Draco
    • ν Draconis
    • Thuban
  22. Equuleus
  23. Gemini
    • Castor & Pollux
    • M35 open cluster
    • Christmas Tree Cluster
    • ζ Gemini
    • Eskimo Nebula
  24. Hercules
    • Keystone
    • α Herculis
    • M13 Globular Cluster
  25. Hydra
    • M48 Lost Star Cluster
    • Alphard
    • Ghost of Jupiter

    • ...and, only under a crystal-clear sky with a monster telescope,
    • M83 Spiral Galaxy
  26. Leo
    • Regulus
    • γ Leonis
    • M65 & M66 Galaxies
  27. Leo Minor
  28. Lepus
    • γ Leporis (double star)
    • M79 Globular Cluster
  29. Libra
    • Zubeneschamali
    • Zubenelgenubi
  30. Lyra
    • Vega
    • Double Double
    • β Lyrae
    • Ring Nebula
  31. Ophiuchus
  32. Orion
    • Betegeuse & Rigel
    • M42 Orion Nebula
    • M78 Reflection Nebula
  33. Pegasus
    • Great Square of Pegasus
    • M15 Globular Cluster
  34. Perseus
    • Algol
    • α Persei
    • M34 Open Cluster
    • Double Cluster
  35. Pisces
    • ζ Piscium
    • TX Piscium

    • ...and for the astronomers in the group...
    • M74 Galaxy
  36. Piscis Austrinus
    • Fomalhaut
  37. Sagitta
      ...as noted in the reference page, I show these with Sagitta even though they are technically part of Vulpecula, which is too faint for anyone to care about...
    • The Coathanger
    • Dumbbell Nebula
  38. Sagittarius
    • The Teapot & Teaspoon
    • M8 Lagoon Nebula
    • M20 Trifid Nebula
    • M22 Globular Cluster
  39. Scorpius
    • Antares
    • Scorpion's Claws
    • M4 Globular Cluster
    • μ Scorpii
    • ζ Scorpii
    • Northern Jewel Box
    • Shaula
    • M6 Butterfly Cluster
    • M7 Open Cluster
  40. Serpens
      ...I don't mention this on the page (it is on the picture) but a good target in this constellation for your astronomers is
    • The Eagle Nebula
  41. Taurus
    • Aldebaran
    • The Pleiades
    • The Hyades
  42. Triangulum
    • M33 Pinwheel Galaxy
  43. Ursa Major
    • Three Leaps of the Gazelle
    • M81 & M82 Galaxies
    • Pointer Stars
    • Mizar & Alcor
  44. Ursa Minor
  45. Virgo
    • Spica
    • Virgo Cluster: M84 & M86 Galaxies

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Questions

Your questions and comments regarding the Stargazing section are welcome. You can e-mail the author, Randy Culp for inquiries, suggestions, new ideas or just to chat.
Updated 12 June 2019