How To Find The Summer Constellations (360°)

How To Find The Summer Constellations (360°)

Looking up at the stars, ancient humans all around the world saw the shapes of heroes and monsters. The constellations of the ancient Greeks were
preserved and built upon — first by Muslim astronomers in the Islamic Golden Age, then by Europeans during the scientific revolution. In 1922, the International Astronomical Union organized the sky into 88 official constellations
— each one with its own story — but this celestial map can be hard to navigate
without a guide. So in this video I’m going to teach you some
tricks that you can use to find a bunch of constellations when you go out this summer. The first tip is to get as far away from city
lights as possible. I’m here in Northern Pennsylvania in Cherry
Springs State Park and if you look at this map of light pollution you can see that this is an area that’s one of the darkest patches east of the Mississippi. You also want to avoid moonlight — and luckily tonight the moon will be just a sliver. If you start your stargazing trip around sunset you can start to get your bearings. And this is a 360 video, so you can look around by moving your device or by clicking and dragging. The sun just set behind me and so that’s the West. This way is north. There’s south. And back by the chair is East. If you look around you’ll start to see a
few points of light. Some are the brightest stars and some are planets, a term that comes from the ancient Greek word
for “wanderer.” They don’t stay in the same place but rove
across the fixed pattern of the stars. As night falls turn to the north and look up — just follow these arrows — and we’ll start our tour. You might recognize one group of stars; the Big Dipper. Four stars form the bowl and and three more the handle. Before optometry, some tested their vision by finding an extra star in the handle — little Alcor. This pair is called “The Horse and Rider.” The Big Dipper isn’t an official constellation
— it’s technically part of Ursa Major. According to myth, Zeus stretched out this great bear’s tail as he flung it into the heavens. In Greek, bear is “arctos” — and the lands that lie in the direction of this bear (north) became known as “the Arctic.” Some Native Americans also saw a bear in these
stars — pursued by hunters. In South Korea, they saw seven devoted sons. And for us, this unmistakable constellation
will be a key to navigating the heavens. Start with the two stars at the Dipper’s edge. Draw a line between them and keep going; you’ll run into the North Star — Polaris. It’s in the tail of a much fainter “Little
Bear” — Ursa Minor. As the night passes, Polaris stays fixed in
the north as all the other stars rotate around it. I should mention that the night sky will look
different depending on exactly where you are. At the North Pole, Polaris is directly over your head. As you travel south, Polaris moves lower and lower until, at the equator, it kisses the horizon. Here in Pennsylvania, it’s right in the middle. The sky also changes with the seasons. This is the sky now — 10 p.m. on June 11. But in a month, the sky will look like this at 10 p.m. And by midwinter, the 10 p.m. sky will look very
different, with a whole set of winter constellations coming into view. But let’s get back to summer, and our guide
the Big Dipper. If we follow that same line from before from
those two stars at the Dipper’s edge to Polaris and then keep going about the same distance
again, curving slightly, we’ll reach Cassiopeia — look for a W in the stars. The ancient Greeks saw a vain North African
queen on a throne, but people in northern Scandinavia
and Siberia saw antlers. Ok, let’s return to the Dipper. This time, follow a line from the two other
stars in the Dipper’s bowl down towards the West until you hit a backwards question mark. This is Leo — a constellation that’s been
recognized as a lion for at least 6,000 years, from ancient Turkey to ancient India. Back to the Big Dipper one last time! If you follow those same stars the other way far across the sky to the East you’ll hit
a bright star called Deneb. It’s one of the most distant stars that you can still see clearly, because it is so luminous – about 200,000 times brighter than our sun. Deneb comes from the Arabic for “the tail
of the hen” … and it is in the tail of a swanlike constellation called Cygnus. There are two more bright stars a little east
of Cygnus. First, by its left wing — Vega —
in the constellation Lyra. Second, a little more towards the horizon you’ll see Altair. “The Flying One.” It’s in Aquila the Eagle. These three bright stars are called the “Summer Triangle.” In China, Altair and Vega were seen as two
lovers — a weaver and a cowherd — tragically separated by the river of the Milky Way. As the night goes on, look south and you’ll see a bright reddish star peeking over the horizon. This is Antares, in the constellation Scorpius. You can follow the line of its barbed tail. Which looked like Maui’s magical fishhook to the people of the Polynesian diaspora. The final stop on our tour is the very center
of the Milky Way Galaxy. It’s near the end of Scorpius’
tail, next to the constellation Sagittarius. I see a teapot here, with a bit of Milky Way
puffing out like steam. And if you look right here, you’re staring
into the exact center of our galaxy. Some stories say Sagittarius depicts a satyr named Crotus. A playful horse man who once, putting his hands together in delight, invented applause. Subscribe to Skunk Bear — NPR’s science show. If you want a printable version to this guide
there’s a link in the description. And if you want more 360 video check out our
episode about walking to the moon.

82 thoughts on “How To Find The Summer Constellations (360°)

  1. Seriously, you guys are the best. Keep the good content coming!
    Hope more people experience your videos in the future.

  2. This was an amazing video. I thought that it being 360º would ruin the experience, but it actually enhanced it extremely.

  3. The video is very good! You deserve more attention.

    I can't find the link to the printable version of the sky you stated at the end 🙂

  4. Ursa Major: 1:31
    Ursa Minor: 2:20
    Cassiopeia: 3:05
    Leo: 3:29
    Cygnus, Lyra & Aquila: 3:45
    Scorpius & Sagittarius: 4:36

  5. Honestly this is the best, most magical YouTube video I have ever come across, thank you for this. I love npr!

  6. I'm blown away by your production value! This is the first 360 video I've watched that wasn't irritating and thrown together lol.

  7. Wow, Skunkbear does the first 360 video that doesn't look like it was shot with a potato and it served a purpose!

  8. This is the best-looking, most well-made 360° vid I've ever seen. Proof that good content is driven by good purpose. Bloody brilliant!

  9. Nice video. Thanks.

    It's peculiar, right at the beginning, that you refer to "Islamic" astronomers, and then to "European" astronomers? Why refer to religion in one case but not the other?

  10. The ancient Greek's Ouzo must have been a lot stronger than today's if they could see all those creatures in the stars.

  11. At 4:08 when Deneb is mentioned, the Arabic font is not correctly connected. This rendering issue is actually very common. There are also some other points where the Arabic text is not properly shown but it doesn't detract too much from this otherwise well made guide.

    Edit: fixed spelling

  12. This is the best constellation finding vid I've seen! If I ever get out of the city I'm definitely gonna try and find some of these! Thank you Skunk Bear!

  13. How can the sky turn if the earth is flat ?! Haha just kidding guys, amazing video I bet I will remeber it now ! 🙂

  14. I have seen some 3D videos, but this one uses the format very nicely for the topic. One major issue is that the compression artifacts are really annoying, even at the largest resolution, but that's a direct consequence of trying to display the night sky with all of those stars and randomness. Thanks for doing this video and sharing it!

  15. Sometimes 360 video is annoying because there really isn't 360 degree content, the user just decided to shoot it in 360 degrees. This is one of the best applications of 360 degree video!

  16. The app Skymap is very nice to learn to differentiate those constellations. Here in the South Hemisphere the principals constellations are others.

  17. I remember the summer of 1983 when I did this, a complete orientation to the summer sky and learned all the constellations. It was a wonderful time.

  18. WoW. Es de los mejores vídeos que he visto en YouTube. El canal es de mucha calidad, qué raro que solo tenga 76 mil suscriptores.

  19. I know where the little dipper (ursa minor) is in the night sky, but from my location, (south west oklahoma) the little dipper is hardly visible. In fact, my mother has been living here for 5 years and has never once seen the little dipper in full, and believed it was further north or south of our location.

    Using a starchart app, that utilizes the 360 motion, (star tracker) and some other helpful constellation charts, I found ursa minor by using ursa major. But most of the constellation is too faded to even see.

    ( : . )

    That's all we can see of it.

  20. I just wanted to say I was shocked that a video with so few views was this good. You felt very professional on your presenting and took full advantage of the 360 filming. The only downside is it was so short, it would be great if it were an hour long and did all of the constellations. I genuinely wish there were more people like you in education, kids would learn much faster as this was much easier to understand. Something that requires graphical interaction like this shouldn’t be taught in a textbook!!

  21. Well rn everyone in Venezuela is without electricity so you can practically see the galaxy 🤣 And it’s a miracle that there’s signal sooo I’m trying to find constelations🤪

  22. Astrologers were the first star gazers and first astronomers. Then it became astrologers/astronomers and one was disrespected in ancient times if they didn't do astrology. Then the astronomers rejected the feminine and the soul (astrology) so they left and became mental (logic, reason) astronomy and star gazing as a navigator's tool for ships. All the way to today's air ships of nasa military and technology. Astrologers remained the same, both astrologer-astronomer, the wholeness of both "mind and eternal soul" and our mythology: "as above, so within". Astronomers still use our Astrologer's mythology as part of their work, they can stray but they can never wander too far from the Great Mother of Astrology.

  23. too difficult. I can't find any pattern if I were in the wild, everywhere just looks the same or nothing at all

  24. Alright, I'm subbing just for the immense care and time that had to have sunk into this video. You've earned my support

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