Guides

Astronomy resources for all


We have some great astronomy resources for you. Choose from a selection of equipment and sky guides.

Equipment Guides


Need help with your equipment? We have put together some useful guides to help you getting your equipment setup and finding objects in the skies.


Buying Your First Telescope
How to buy your first telescope. A guide sponsored by Celestron, a world renowned manufacturer and distributor of telescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes and accessories. This handy guide provides answers to the most common questions, explains the main telescope types, descriptions of eyepieces and what you should look at first.

Setting up an EQ (Equatorial) Mount
This handy guide put together by Catherine Maryon explains what an equatorial mount is, how they work and how to setup a manual EQ mount with your telescope.

UK Astronomy Beginners Guide
A beginners guide put together by UK Astronomy from our own experiences in the hobby, plus frequently asked questions from our facebook community.

Naked-Eye Astronomy
Another handy guide put together by Catherine Maryon which talks about getting started with naked-eye observation in the UK. Great for learning the basics of astronomy and how to recognise a few of the most well known objects in the sky.

Astronomy Glossary
A glossary of astronomical terms to assist you on your astronomy journey.





Sky Guides


Below are a few useful guides including our monthly sky guide.


Monthly Sky Guide
A complete guide to the skies during the month of September 2021.

Shooting Stars Photography Guide
Ross Hockham, and dedicated volunteer, Wil Cheung, give their insights into taking photos of shooting stars.

Guide to the Night Sky
Listen to UK Astronomy founder, Ross Hockham, as he uses pictures and a virtual sky to show you what you can see in your gardens using your eyes, binoculars and telescopes.

Dark Skies Guide
There are many great dark sky locations around the UK, this guide highlights some of the best places to visit and when to go. Follow Wil from Wil Photography for this most informative guide.


Sky Guides (Constellations & Galaxies)


These guides are some of the cool things that UK Astronomy have found around certain constellations. You can download these to your phone or iPad and take them with you on your stargazing adventures. We add new items and information regularly, so keep checking for new additions. Happy Hunting!

Click or tap on an image to expand a larger view.





Andromeda

Summer | Autumn
(June through February)
The Andromeda Galaxy is also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224 and originally the Andromeda Nebula.

Aquarius

Autumn
Aquarius is a constellation of the zodiac, between Capricornus and Pisces. Its name is Latin for "water-carrier" or "cup-carrier". It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy.

Aquila

Summer | Autumn
(July through October)
Aquila is a constellation on the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for 'eagle' and it represents the bird that carried Zeus | Jupiter's thunderbolts in Greek-Roman mythology. Its brightest star, Altair, is one vertex of the Summer Triangle asterism.

Aries

Winter | Spring
(Early Winter through Late Spring)
Aries is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is located in the Northern celestial hemisphere between Pisces to the west and Taurus to the east. The name Aries is Latin for "ram".

Auriga

Winter
(Most prominent during winter evenings)
Auriga was among the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy. It is north of the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for '(the) charioteer'

Bootes

Spring | Summer
Boötes is a constellation in the northern sky, The name comes from Latin, which comes from Greek, meaning 'herdsman' or 'plowman'.

Camelopardalis

Winter
(During the month of February)
Camelopardalis is a large but faint constellation of the northern sky representing a giraffe.

Cancer

Spring
(Early)
Cancer is one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac and is located in the Northern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "crab".

Canes Ventici

Spring
(During the month of May)
Canes Venatici is a small northern constellation that was created by Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. Its name is Latin for 'hunting dogs', and the constellation is often depicted in illustrations as representing the dogs of Boötes the Herdsman, a neighboring constellation.

Canis Major

Autumn | Winter
(December through March)
Canis Major is a constellation in the southern celestial hemisphere. In the second century. Its name is Latin for "greater dog" in contrast to Canis Minor, the "lesser dog"; both figures are commonly represented as following the constellation of Orion the hunter through the sky.

Canis Minor

Autumn | Winter
(December through April)
Canis Minor is a small constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "lesser dog", in contrast to Canis Major, the "greater dog"; both figures are commonly represented as following the constellation of Orion the hunter.

Capricornus

Summer | Autumn
(late summer or early autumn evenings)
Capricornus is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for "horned goat" or "goat horn" or "having horns like a goat's", and it is commonly represented in the form of a sea goat: a mythical creature that is half goat, half fish.

Cassiopeia

Spring | Summer | Autumn | Winter
(All year but can be found high in the sky at 21:00 from October to January)
Cassiopeia is a constellation in the northern sky, named after the vain queen Cassiopeia in Greek mythology.

Cepheus

Autumn
(October to December)
Cepheus is a constellation in the northern sky, named after Cepheus, a king of Aethiopia in Greek mythology.

Cetus

Autumn | Winter
(the late autumn and early winter)
Cetus is a constellation, sometimes called 'the whale' in English. The Cetus was a sea monster in Greek mythology which both Perseus and Heracles needed to slay. Cetus is in the region of the sky that contains other water-related constellations: Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus.

Coma Berenices

Spring
(During the month of May)
Coma Berenices is an ancient asterism in the northern sky. Its name means "Berenice's Hair" in Latin.

Corona Borealis

Spring | Summer
Corona Borealis is a small constellation in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere. Its Latin name, inspired by its shape, means "northern crown".

Corvus

Winter | Spring
(January until May)
Corvus is a small constellation in the Southern Celestial Hemisphere. Its name means "crow" in Latin. It depicts a raven, a bird associated with stories about the god Apollo, perched on the back of Hydra the water snake.

Crater

Winter
(April)
Crater is a small constellation in the southern celestial hemisphere. Its name is the latinization of the Greek krater, a type of cup used to water down wine. It depicts a cup that has been associated with the god Apollo and is perched on the back of Hydra the water snake.

Cygnus

Autumn
(September)
Cygnus is a northern constellation lying on the plane of the Milky Way. Its name is derived from the Latinized Greek word for "swan".

Delphinus

Summer | Autumn
(July through November)
Delphinus is a small constellation in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere, close to the celestial equator. Its name is the Latin version for the Greek word for "dolphin".

Draco

Spring | Summer | Autumn | Winter
(All year round)
Draco is a constellation in the far northern sky. Its name is Latin for dragon. Draco is circumpolar (that is, never setting), and can be seen all year from northern latitudes.

Equuleus

Autumn
(September)
Equuleus is the second smallest of the modern constellations. Its name is Latin for "little horse".

Gemini

Winter
(December through January)
Gemini is one of the constellations of the zodiac and is located in the northern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for twins, and it is associated with the twins Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology.

Hercules

Summer
(May until August)
Hercules is the fifth-largest of the modern constellations. It is named after the Roman mythological hero Hercules.

Hydra

Winter | Spring
(January to May)
Hydra is the largest of the 88 modern constellations, measuring 1303 square degrees, and also the longest at over 100 degrees. Its southern end borders Libra and Centaurus and its northern end borders Cancer. Commonly represented as a water snake, it straddles the celestial equator.

Lacerta

Autumn
(October)
Lacerta is one of the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union. Its name is Latin for "lizard".

Leo

Spring
Leo is one of the constellations of the zodiac, lying between Cancer the crab to the west and Virgo the maiden to the east. It is located in the Northern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "lion".

Leo Minor

Spring
(April)
Leo Minor is a small and faint constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "the smaller lion", in contrast to Leo, the larger lion. It lies between the larger and more recognizable Ursa Major to the north and Leo to the south.

Lepus

Winter
Lepus is a constellation lying just south of the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for hare. It is located below - immediately south of Orion, (the hunter), and is sometimes represented as a hare being chased by Orion or by Orion's hunting dogs.

Libra

Spring | Summer
(Between April and July)
Libra is a constellation of the zodiac and is located in the Southern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "weighing scales". It is fairly faint, with no first magnitude stars, and lies between Virgo to the west and Scorpius to the east. Beta Librae, also known as Zubeneschamali, is the brightest star in the constellation. Three star systems are known to have planets.

Lynx

Spring
(March)
Lynx is a constellation named after the animal, usually observed in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere. The orange giant Alpha Lyncis is the brightest star in the constellation, and the semiregular variable star Y Lyncis is a target for amateur astronomers.

Lyra

Summer | Autumn
(June through October)
Lyra is a small constellation. It is sometimes referred to as Vultur Cadens "Falling Vulture" or Aquila Cadens "Falling Eagle".

It is also where the fictional character, Prot, is from in the film K-PAX.

Monoceros

Winter
Monoceros, Greek for "unicorn", is a faint constellation on the celestial equator. Its definition is attributed to the 17th-century Dutch cartographer Petrus Plancius. It is bordered by Orion to the west, Gemini to the north, Canis Major to the south, and Hydra to the east.

Ophiuchus

Autumn
Ophiuchus is a large constellation straddling the celestial equator. Its name is from the Greek for "serpent-bearer". The serpent is represented by the constellation Serpens.

Orion

Autumn | Winter
(November through February)
Orion is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. It is named after Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology.

Pegasus

Autumn
Pegasus is a constellation in the northern sky, named after the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology.

Perseus

Summer
(Mid-July through late August)
Perseus is a constellation in the northern sky, being named after the Greek mythological hero Perseus.

Pisces

Autumn
(Early)
Pisces is a constellation of the zodiac. Its name is the Latin plural for fish. It is between Aquarius, of similar size, to the southwest and Aries, which is smaller, to the east. The ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect within this constellation and in Virgo. This means the sun passes directly overhead of the equator, on average, at approximately this point in the sky, at the March equinox.

Puppis

Winter
Puppis is a constellation in the southern sky. Puppis, the Poop Deck, was originally part of an over-large constellation Argo Navis (the ship of Jason and the Argonauts), which centuries after its initial description, was divided into three parts, the other two being Carina (the keel and hull), and Vela (the sails of the ship)

Sagitta

Autumn
(September)
Sagitta is a dim but distinctive constellation in the northern sky. Its name is Latin for "arrow".

Sagittarius

Summer
Sagittarius is one of the constellations of the zodiac and is located in the Southern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "archer".

Scorpius

Summer
Scorpius is one of the constellations of the zodiac and is located in the Southern celestial hemisphere. Its name is Latin for scorpion. It is an ancient constellation that pre-dates the Greeks. It lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It is a large constellation located in the southern hemisphere near the center of the Milky Way.

Scutum

Summer
(Late July or August)
Scutum is a small constellation. Its name is Latin for shield, and it was originally named Scutum Sobiescianum by Johannes Hevelius in 1684. It lies entirely in the southern celestial hemisphere and its four brightest stars form a narrow diamond shape.

Serpens

Summer
Serpens is a constellation of the northern hemisphere. It is unique among the modern constellations in being split into two non-contiguous parts, Serpens Caput (Serpent Head) to the west and Serpens Cauda (Serpent Tail) to the east. Between these two halves lies the constellation of Ophiuchus, the "Serpent-Bearer".

Sextans

Winter | Spring
Sextans is a minor equatorial constellation which was introduced in 1687 by Johannes Hevelius. Its name is Latin for the astronomical sextant, an instrument that Hevelius made frequent use of in his observations.

Taurus

Winter | Spring
Taurus, Latin for "the Bull", is one of the constellations of the zodiac and is located in the Northern celestial hemisphere. It is one of the oldest constellations, dating back to at least the Early Bronze Age when it marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox.

Triangulum

Summer
Triangulum is a small constellation in the northern sky. Its name is Latin for "triangle".

Ursa Major

Spring | Summer
(March through June)
Ursa Major also known as the Great Bear is a constellation in the northern sky, whose associated mythology likely dates back into prehistory. Its Latin name means "greater (or larger) she-bear".

Ursa Minor

Spring | Summer | Autumn | Winter
(All year round)
Ursa Minor is a constellation in the Northern Sky. Its name is Latin for "Lesser Bear".

Virgo

Spring | Summer
Virgo is the second-largest constellation in the sky (after Hydra) and the largest constellation in the zodiac. The ecliptic intersects the celestial equator within this constellation and Pisces. Underlying these technical two definitions, the sun passes directly overhead of the equator, within this constellation, at the September equinox. Virgo can be easily found through its brightest star, Spica.

Vulpecula

Spring | Summer
(November through June)
Vulpecula is a faint constellation in the northern sky. Its name is Latin for "little fox".