The International Astronomical Union recognizes 88 constellations covering the entire northern and southern sky.
Here is a selection of the most familiar and easily seen constellations in the northern sky.
Most constellation names are Latin in origin, dating from the Roman empire, but their meanings often originated in the distant past of human civilization. Scorpius, for instance, was given its name from the Latin word for scorpion, but ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs from before 3000 B.C. refer to the star group as "Ip," the scorpion king. Orion, the hunter, bears a Greek name, but had been seen as a hunter-hero figure since the times of ancient Babylon.
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