Adirondack Sky Center
Tupper Lake, New York
Set Default TextSet Donate Text
Astro Quiz 18: Circumpolar Constellations?

Question #18 – What is a circumpolar constellation?


A circumpolar constellation is a constellation that never sets below the horizon as viewed from a location on Earth. In the northern hemisphere, the stars and constellations appear to move in a circle, counterclockwise around the "fixed" North Star, Polaris. At mid-northern latitudes (40º to 50º North) the circumpolar constellations are:

  1. Ursa Major (The Great Bear)
  2. Ursa Minor (The Lesser Bear)
  3. Draco (The Dragon)
  4. Cepheus (The King)
  5. Cassiopeia (The Queen)
  6. Camelopardalis (The Giraffe)

More information about circumpolar constellations in the northern and southern hemisphere can be found in this article at Constellation Guide.

Circumpolar constellations visible from mid-northern latitudes (Image created using Starry Night Pro Plus 8)

Click to view a movie showing the motion of the circumpolar constellations from sunset to sunrise, sped up 3000x (Image created using Starry Night Pro Plus 8)

Stargaze With Us!