Constellation Names

In 1928, the International Astronomical Union sanctioned the official constellation boundaries that defined the 88 constellations and abbreviations listed below. The new constellation boundaries were first drawn in a publication by Eugene Delporte of Belgium in 1930 and these are the boundaries that exist today. They are based on an 1875 epoch, so the boundaries have moved a little on the 2000 epoch star charts of today.

Over the years I have used many different pronunciations for the constellations. It seems like each constellation has several ways to pronounce it. There is an excellent article in Sky & Telescope about constellation names that you can view here. In 2007, I changed most of my pronunciations to match their's to go with the flow better. The chart below is primarily for my own reference use, but you are welcome to use and learn from it also - Bruce Perrault

Nominative Genitive Abbreviation Pronunciation Translation
Andromeda Andromedae And an-DRAM-mih-duh Chained Maiden
Antlia Antliae Ant ANT-lee-uh Air Pump
Apus Apodis Aps APE-us Bird of Paradise
Aquarius (z) Aquarii Aqr uh-QWAIR-ee-us Water Bearer
Aquila Aquilae Aql ACK-will-uh Eagle
Ara Arae Ara AIR-uh Altar
Aries (z) Arietis Ari AIR-ease Ram
Auriga Aurigae Aur aw-RYE-guh Charioteer
Bootes Bootis Boo bo-OH-teez Herdsman
Caelum Caeli Cae SEE-lum Engraving Tool
Camelopardalis Camelopardalis Cam cuh-MEL-oh-PAR-duh-liss Giraffe
Cancer (z) Cancri Cnc CAN-ser Crab
Canes Venatici Canum Venaticorum CVn CAN-eez ve-NAT-iss-eye Hunting Dogs
Canis Major Canis Majoris CMa CAN-iss MAY-jer Great Dog
Canis Minor Canis Minoris CMi CAN-iss MY-ner Lesser Dog
Capricornus (z) Capricorni Cap CAP-rih-CORN-us Sea Goat
Carina ** Carinae Car cuh-RYE-nuh Keel
Cassiopeia Cassiopeiae Cas CASS-ee-uh-PEE-uh Seated Queen
Centaurus Centauri Cen sen-TOR-us Centaur
Cepheus Cephei Cep SEE-fee-us King
Cetus Ceti Cet SEE-tus Sea Monster
Chamaeleon Charmaeleontis Cha cuh-MEAL-yun Chameleon
Circinus Circini Cir SUR-sin-us Compass
Columba Columbae Col cuh-LUM-buh Dove
Coma Berenices Comae Berenices Com COE-muh BER-uh-NICE-eez Bernice's Hair
Corona Australis Coronae Australis CrA cuh-ROE-nuh aw-STRAL-iss Southern Crown
Corona Borealis Coronae Borealis CrB cuh-ROE-nyh bor-ee AL-iss Northern Crown
Corvus Corvi Crv COR-vus Crow
Crater Crateris Crt CRAY-ter Cup
Crux Crucis Cru CRUCKS Southern Cross
Cygnus Cygni Cyg SIG-nus Swan
Delphinus Delphini Del del-FIN-us Dolphin
Dorado Doradus Dor duh-RAH-do Dolphinfish
Draco Draconis Dra DRAY-co Dragon
Equuleus Equulei Equ eh-QUOO-lee-us Little Horse
Eridanus Eridani Eri ih-RID-un-us River
Fornax Fornacis For FOR-naks Furnace
Gemini (z) Geminorum Gem JEM-uh-nye Twins
Grus Gruis Gru GROOS Crane
Hercules Herculis Her HER-kyuh-leez Hercules
Horologium Horologii Hor hor-uh-LOE-jee-um Clock
Hydra Hydrae Hya HIGH-druh Female Water Snake
Hydrus Hydi Hyi HIGH-drus Male Water Snake
Indus Indi Ind IN-dus Indian
Lacerta Lacertae Lac luh-SER-tuh Lizard
Leo (z) Leonis Leo LEE-oh Lion
Leo Minor Leonis Minoris LMi LEE-oh MY-ner Lesser Lion
Lepus Leporis Lep LEP-us Hare
Libra (z) Librae Lib LYE-bruh Scales
Lupus Lupi Lup LOOP-us Wolf
Lynx Lyncis Lyn LINKS Lynx
Lyra Lyrae Lyr LYE-ruh Lyre
Mensa Mensae Men MEN-suh Table Mountain
Microscopium Microsopii Mic MY-cruh-SCOPE-ee-um Microscope
Monoceros Monocerotis Mon muh-NAH-ser-us Unicorn
Musca Muscae Mus MUSS-cuh Fly
Norma Normae Nor NOR-muh Carpenter's Square
Octans Octantis Oct OCK-tanz Octant
Ophiuchus Ophiuchi Oph OFF-ee-YOO-kus Serpent Bearer
Orion Orionis Ori oh-RYE-un Hunter
Pavo Pavonis Pav PAY-vo Peacock
Pegasus Pegasi Peg PEG-us-us Winged Horse
Perseus Persei Per PER-see-us Hero
Phoenix Phoenicis Phe FEE-nix Phoenix
Pictor Pictoris Pic PICK-ter Painter's Easel
Pisces (z) Piscium Pse PICE-eez Fishes
Piscis Austrinus Piscis Austrini PsA PICE-iss as-STRY-nus Southern Fish
Puppis ** Puppis Pup PUP-is Stern
Pyxis ** Pyxidis Pyx PIX-iss Compass
Reticulum Reticulii Ret rih-TICK-yuh-lum Reticle
Sagitta Sagittae Sge suh-JIT-uh Arrow
Sagittarius (z) Sagittarii Sgr SAJ-ih-TARE-ee-us Archer
Scorpius (z) Scorpii Sco SCOR-pee-us Scorpion
Sculptor Sculptoris Scl SCULP-ter Sculptor
Scutum Scuti Sct SCOOT-um Shield
Serpens * Serpentis Ser SER-punz Serpent
Sextans Sextantis Sex SEX-tunz Sextant
Taurus (z) Tauri Tau TOR-us Bull
Telescopium Telescopii Tel tel-ih-SCOPE-ee-um Telescope
Triangulum Trianguli Tri try-ANG-gyuh-lum Triangle
Triangulum Australe Trianguli Australis TrA try-ANG-gyuh-lum aw-STRAL-ee Southern Triangle
Tucana Tucanae Tuc too-KAY-nuh Toucan
Ursa Major Ursae Majoris UMa ER-suh MAY-jur Great Bear
Ursa Minor Ursae Minoris UMi ER-suh MY-ner Lesser Bear
Vela ** Velorum Vel VEE-luh Sails
Virgo (z) Virginis Vir VER-go Maiden
Volans Vplantis Vol VOH-lanz Flying Fish
Vulpecula Vulpeculae Vul vul-PECK-yuh-luh Fox

(z)  Constellations of the Zodiac.
*    Serpens is divided into Serpens Caput (head) and Serpens Cauda (tail).
**   Carina, Puppis, Pyxis and Vela may be called Argo on older maps.

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