Island 4 Stellarium-Exploring The Celestial Sphere

Scientific Data And Analysis

Students will earn the basics about astronomical objects, constellations, and concepts. Then, conduct their own hunt for these interesting objects in the sky using Stellarium to explore them first hand.

Stellarium- Exploring The Celestial Sphere

What is Stellarium?

What Students Will Learn:

  • Basic Stellarium software navigation

  • How to use the Stellarium search, location, date and time, and label tools

  • How to bookmark objects and take screenshots of the sky

  • What constellations are and how they relate to the celestial sphere

  • Facts about different types of objects and structures in space

  • How we describe astronomical distances and brightness


Humans have been observing the stars for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Aztecs realized that the stars moved across the sky in a predictable way. They also noticed that the positions of the stars relative to one another always remained the same—they all moved together. Really, the Earth is what is spinning, not the stars. But because we are moving with the Earth, the stars seem to be the ones moving across the sky. 

People started finding patterns, or constellations, in the sky that resembled the shapes of familiar objects and creatures. Because stars move together, people could start predicting when and where each constellation could be found in the sky at different times of the year. In addition to being used for local folklore and religious practices, constellations helped people navigate and know when to plant and harvest crops each season. 

Today, 88 official constellations (the modern Western constellations) are internationally recognized and used in modern-day astronomy. These groupings are now more than just recognizable patterns formed by groups of stars—they are clearly defined areas of the sky with specific boundaries. Put together, all 88 constellation regions make up the entire celestial sphere.

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