88 Officially Recognized Star Constellations

These are all 88 officially recognized star constellations, their names, meanings, and pictures.

Have you ever looked up at the sky and wondered which constellation you might see?

So if you want a complete list of the star constellations, their names, and their meanings, and pictures then you’re in the right place.

Let’s jump right in!

Table of Contents

Star Constellations and Their Meaning and Names

We’ve all gazed up at the night sky, admiring stars forming familiar shapes, dressed in the lore of ancient cultures. 

But, where did all of these names come from, and what do they mean? 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at all 88 officially recognized star constellation, their names, and their Meanings:

Star Constellations Map

To start, here’s a map that shows all 88 officially recognized star constellations:

Star constellations map with all 88 officially recognized star constellations.

#1 Andromeda – Royal Sea Monster Bait

Andromeda star constellation.

Andromeda is the daughter of Cassiopeia and Cepheus in Greek mythology. 

Unfortunately, appeasing the gods, she was chained and fed to the sea monster Cetus. 

However, Perseus finally rescued her.

#2 Antlia – Air Pump

Antlia star constellation.

It was initially named Antlia Pneumatica, or “Pneumatic Machine,” by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. 

Actually, this unusual name honored French physicist Denis Papin’s invention of the air pump.

#3 Apus – Bird of Paradise

Apus star constellation.

Greek for “no feet,” Apus is the official bird of paradise. 

Ironically, this name mocks western civilization’s misconception of the paradise bird not having feet. 

Who knew!?

#4 Aquarius – Water-Bearer

Aquarius star constellation.

Water carrier of the gods, Aquarius was the best-looking boy in ancient Greece. 

In fact, Zeus became enthralled with Aquarius, morphed into an eagle, and abducted the boy.

#5 Aquila – Thunderbolt Eagle

Aquila star constellation.

Aquila was the majestic eagle who help Zeus’ thunderbolts. 

However, this meaning is often associated with the legendary eagle who abducted Aquarius (see Aquarius).

#6 Ara – Altar

Ara star constellation.

Ara was the altar in which Greek gods formed a pact before battling the Titans. 

Led by Zeus, the gods overpowered the Titans, winning the legendary war. Ultimately, the altar was placed in the sky by Zeus. 

In fact, the Milky Way represents the smoke rising from Ara.

#7 Aries – Ram

Aries star constellation.

Aries was a legendary ram, yielding wings and golden fleece. 

Nephele originally sent him to rescue her son, Phrixus, upon his father sacrificing him to ward off famine.

Ultimately, both Phrixus and his sister, Helle, boarded Aries, flying to safety on the Black Sea.

#8 Auriga – Charioteer

Auriga star constellation.

Son of Athena, Auriga was the charioteer of the gods. 

Plus, created in the image of the Sun god’s chariot, Auriga invented the four-horse chariot.

#9 Boötes – Herdsman

Bootes star constellation.

Greek for “oxen driver,” Boötes was the plowman who corralled oxen, often represented by Ursa Major, the bear.

#10 Caelum – Chisel

Caelum star constellation.

Also, named by French astronomer Nicolas Lous de Lacaille, Caelum means “engraver’s chisel” in Latin.

#11 Camelopardalis – Giraffe

Camelopardalis star constellation.

Greek for “camel and leopard,” Camelopardalis was a Greek giraffe. 

Literally, ancient Greeks viewed giraffe’s long necks and spots as a combo of both animals.

#12 Cancer – Crab

Cancer star constellation.

Cancer was a crab sent to distract Heracles while battling an ancient hydra or snake. 

In fact, such a battle was one of Heracles’ 12 labors. 

Ultimately, he kicked cancer so hard, it flew into our skies, forming the infamous constellation we know today.

#13 Canes Venatici – Hunting Dogs

Canes Venatici star constellation.

Initially named by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, Canes represents the hunting dogs, led by Boötes, the herdsman. 

In fact, the dogs and herder both follow the great bear, Ursa Major.

#14 Canis Major – Big Dog

Canis Major star constellation.

Canis Major is the big dog, following legendary hunter Orion. 

In fact, Orion hunts the rabbit, Lepus.

#15 Canis Minor – Small Dog

Canis Minor star constellation.

Similarly, Canis Minor, the small dog, also follows Orion while hunting the rabbit. 

Unfortunately, the small dog jumped off of a cliff in despair over his owner’s death.

#16 Capricornus – Sea Goat

Capricornus star constellation.

Literally, meaning “goat,” Capricornus represents a forest god known for his horns and legs of a goat. 

In fact, some versions claim the goat tended to the infant god, Zeus.

#17 Carina – Keel of Argo Navis

Carina star constellation.

Carina was one of three ship pieces used by Jason and the Argonauts to acquire the golden fleece. 

Accordingly, Carina represents the ship’s keel.

#18 Cassiopeia – Vain Queen

Cassiopeia star constellation.

Queen Cassiopeia, a boastful royal, was the wife of Cepheus and mother of Andromeda. 

Ultimately, while claiming to be more beautiful than anyone else, Poseidon sends a sea monster to kill Cassiopeia. 

Upon requesting help, Cepheus is told he must sacrifice his daughter to the monster. 

Finally, after leaving the daughter chained to a rock, Perseus saves her. Nice parenting.

#19 Centaurus – Centaur

Centaurus star constellation.

Half man, half horse, Centaurus was an ancient mythological creature. 

In fact, the beast mentored many gods, like Theseus, Jason, and Heracles.

#20 Cepheus – King

Cepheus star constellation.

Husband of Cassiopeia, king Cepheus left daughter, Andromeda, chained to rocks to be eaten by a sea monster. 

Fortunately, Perseus saves the girl.

#21 Cetus – Whale

Cetus star constellation.

Famously, Cetus was a sea monster sent by king and queens, Cepheus and Cassiopeia, to devour their daughter, Andromeda.

#22 Chamaeleon – Chameleon

Chamaeleon star constellation.

Simply put, named after the color-changing lizard, the chameleon, by Dutch explorers in the 1500s.

#23 Circinus – Compass

Circinus star constellation.

Originally, named for the drafting tool to draw circles or measure distances.

#24 Columba – Dove

Columba star constellation.

Introduced in the 1500s, Columba represents the dove who informed Noah that the great biblical flood was receding.

#25 Coma Berenices – Berenice’s Hair

Coma Berenices star constellation.

In ancient Egypt, queen Berenice swore to Aphrodite that she cut off her long, beautiful blonde hair if she brought her husband, Ptolemy, home safely from a dangerous battle. 

Finally, upon safely returning, the queen fulfilled her promise, chopping off the locks. 

In fact, she placed the hair in Aphrodite’s temple. 

However, the hair went missing the following day. 

Ultimately, Egyptian astronomer Conon assured him the gods loved the hair and left it in the sky.

#26 Corona Australis – Southern Crown

Corona Australis star constellation.

Seen by Greeks as a wreath from the wise centaur, Corona is the southern crown. 

However, some believe it represents the crown placed in the sky by Dionysus.

#27 Corona Borealis – Northern Crown

Corona Borealis star constellation.

Corona Borealis, the northern crown, represents the crown worn by the Cretan princess Ariadne during her wedding. 

Upon helping Theseus defeat the minotaur, Ariadne sailed to Naxos with the hero, where he eventually left her broken-hearted. 

However, Dionysus fell in love. Ultimately, this paved the way for her happy marriage and the northern crown.

#28 Corvus – Raven

Corvus star constellation.

Representing a crow, or raven, Corvus was the sacred bird of god Apollo. 

In fact, Apollo tells the raven to watch over his pregnant lover, Coronis. 

Ultimately, Coronis falls for another human man, leaving Apollo. 

Finally, the god becomes too angry by the raven’s mismanagement. He scorches his wings, leaving them blackened.

#29 Crater – Cup

Crater star constellation.

Crater represents the cup of god Apollo. Typically, the cup is envisioned as a chalice with two handles.

#30 Crux – Southern Cross

Crux star constellation.

Although seen in many different lights across multiple cultures, the cross most often represents a biblical significance, depicting Jesus’ crucifixion. 

Ultimately, the cross disappeared for many European cultures in the north. 

In fact, assuming the cross had disappeared, it was not rediscovered for hundreds of years.

#31 Cygnus – Swan

Cygnus star constellation.

Cygnus represents Leda, a Spartan queen who birthed two sets of twins. 

Eventually, in the form of a swan, Zeus seduces Leda. 

Finally, the two immortal twins, Castor and Pollux, are fathered by Zeus, represented in Gemini.

#32 Delphinus – Dolphin

Delphinus star constellation.

Delphinus was Poseidon’s messenger, who ultimately helped him find his future wife, Amphitrite.

#33 Dorado – Fish

Dorado star constellation.

Simply put, Dorado was named after a dolphin-like fish by Dutch explorers in the 1500s.

#34 Draco – Dragon

Draco star constellation.

Draco was named after Ladon, the hundred-headed dragon that guards the garden of Hesperides. 

In fact, Ladon the dragon was slain by poison arrows in one of Heracles’ 12 labors.

#35 Equuleus – Little Horse

Equuleus star constellation.

Equuleus represents Hippe, daughter of the centaur, Chiron. 

Hippe, seduced by Aeolus, becomes pregnant. 

However, afraid to tell her father, Hippe hides in the mountains. 

Eventually, Chiron comes looking for the scared girl. 

Hippe prays to the gods that her father never finds her. 

Finally, granting her wish, the girl morphs into a horse, seen in Equuleus.

#36 Eridanus – River

Eridanus star constellation.

In mythology, Phaëton was son of Sun god, Helios. 

Phaëton begged his father to let him drive his chariot across the skies. 

Eventually, Helios agrees, and Phaëton mounts the chariot. 

However, being inexperienced, the boy loses control of the chariot, plummets toward Earth, causing catastrophic damage. 

Finally, to prevent further damage, Zeus strikes the boy down with a thunderbolt, plunging him into the river Eridanus.

#37 Fornax – Furnace

Fornax star constellation.

It is named after the invention of the chemical furnace, or “Fornax Chemica,” used in chemical experiments.

#38 Gemini – Twins

Gemini star constellation.

It is named after the immortal mythological twins, ultimately fathered by Apollo, Castor, and Pollux.

#39 Grus – Crane

Grus star constellation.

Grus, the crane, is one of many constellations named after exotic animals by Dutch explorers traveling to the East Indies.

#40 Hercules – Strong Man

Hercules star constellation.

Named after Heracles, legendary strong man and hero of Greek mythology. 

Actually, Hercules is one of the oldest constellations in our night sky, dating back to ancient Sumerian civilization.

#41 Horologium – Pendulum Clock

Horologium star constellation.

Another constellation named by French astronomer, Lacaille. 

Originally, named Horologium Oscillitorium, or “pendulum clock,” the constellation honors Christiaan Huygen’s invention of the pendulum clock.

#42 Hydra – Water Serpent

Hydra star constellation.

Officially, Hydra is the largest of the 88 recognized constellations. 

Lernaean Hydra was the mythological monster from Heracles’ 12 labors. 

Plus, Hydra is one of the ancient, original constellations, coined by Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

#43 Hydrus – Watersnake

Hydrus star constellation.

Actually, Hydrus has no formal connection to any mythologies. 

In fact, coined by Dutch explorers, the constellation represents snakes seen on the explorer’s journey to the East Indies.

#44 Indus – Indian

Indus star constellation.

Representing the indigenous peoples met on the East Indies journeys, Indus was also coined by Dutch explorers in the 1500s. 

However, it remains unknown whether it represents East India, Madagascar, or South Africa.

#45 Lacerta – Lizard

Lacerta star constellation.

Also, not associated with any mythologies, Lacerta was named by a Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius, in the 1600s.

#46 Leo – Lion

Leo star constellation.

Depicts the Nemean lion of greek mythology, slain by Heracles amidst his 12 labors.

#47 Leo Minor – Little Lion

Leo Minor star constellation.

Once again, named by a Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius, in the 1600s, Leo Minor, the little lion, holds no association to any mythologies.

#48 Lepus – Hare/Rabbit

Lepus star constellation.

Next, another oldie from Ptolemy in the 2nd century, Lepus, depicts the hare or rabbit chased by Orion, the great hunter. 

Also, the hare was pursued by Orion’s two dogs, Canis Major and Minor.

#49 Libra – Scales

Libra star constellation.

Literally, meaning “weighing scales,” Libra represents the scales of justice, held by Dike, the Greek goddess of justice.

#50 Lupus – Wolf

Lupus star constellation.

Lupus was named by Ptolemy in the 2nd century. 

However, it was not associated with a wolf until the Renaissance period. 

Plus, other cultures associated the constellation with beasts, wild animals, and more. 

Often, the wolf was thought to be sacrificed by the centaur.

#51 Lynx – Lynx

Lynx star constellation.

Another “newer” constellation by Polish astronomer, Hevelius. 

In fact, he named it after the lynx because it’s extremely faint and requires the eyesight of a lynx to see.

#52 Lyra – Harp

Lyra star constellation.

Representing the lyre, or harp of Orpheus, Lyra was a Greek poet and musician. 

Finally, the poet died at the hands of Bacchantes, the loyal female followers of Dionysus.

#53 Mensa – Table Mountain

Mensa star constellation.

In Latin, Mensa means “table.” 

While mapping the skies in South Africa, French astronomer Lacaille named the constellation for Table Mountain in the country.

#54 Microscopium – Microscope

Microscopium star constellation.

Another French-born constellation by Lacaille. 

The astronomer named the constellation after the early compound microscopes, used widely in the science of the 1800s.

#55 Monoceros – Unicorn

Monoceros star constellation.

Latin for “unicorn,” Monoceros depicts the mythological horse with a single majestic horn. 

In fact, Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius named the constellation for the unicorn, appearing many times in the old testament of the Bible.

#56 Musca – Fly

Musca star constellation.

Simply put, Musca depicts the common fly, named by Dutch explorers of the 1500s.

#57 Norma – Level

Norma star constellation.

Named in the 1700s by French astronomer Lacaille, Norma represents the carpenter’s square, or level, often used by carpenters on explorer vessels.

#58 Octans – Octant

Octans star constellation.

Octans represents the reflecting octant, a predecessor of the modern sextant for exploration and navigation. 

Also, another constellation naming from French astronomer, Lacaille.

#59 Ophiuchus – Serpent-Bearer

Ophiuchus star constellation.

Ophiuchus depicts the legendary Greek mythology healer, Asclepius. 

Actually, mythology says that Asclepius learned to bring people back from the dead while witnessing one snake bring herbs to another.

#60 Orion – Hunter

Orion star constellation.

Son of the sea god, Poseidon, Orion was the great Greek hunter. 

In fact, Orion is one of the night sky’s oldest constellations, dating back to the ancient Sumerian lore of Gilgamesh.

#61 Pavo – Peacock

Pavo star constellation.

Introduced in the 1500s, Pavo depicts the Java green peacock, likely seen by Dutch explorers while exploring the East Indies.

#62 Pegasus – Winged horse

Pegasus star constellation.

Pegasus was a white, majestic, winged horse of Greek mythology. 

In fact, the horse was said to have sprung from Medusa’s head when Perseus beheaded her.

#63 Perseus – Greek Hero

Perseus star constellation.

Dating back to Ptolemy in the 2nd century, Perseus was a true Greek hero. 

Not to mention, the hero has a whopping six constellations associated with his legend.

#64 Phoenix – Firebird

Phoenix star constellation.

Sacred to countless cultures and mythologies, Phoenix represents the firebird. 

Also, it was introduced by Dutch explorers of the 1500s.

#65 Pictor – Painter’s Easel

Pictor star constellation.

Latin for “painter,” Pictor was named by 17th-century French astronomer Lacaille. 

Indeed, the constellation was named to honor the palettes and easels of great painters of the time.

#66 Pisces – Fishes

Pisces star constellation.

One of the zodiac constellations, Pisces, represents Aphrodite and son, Eros turning into fish to escape the monster, Typhon. 

Also, this constellation was coined in the 2nd century by Ptolemy.

#67 Piscis Austrinus – Southern Fish

Piscis Austrinus star constellation.

Piscis Austrinus dates back to Babylonian times. 

In fact, in Greek mythology, the fish is often depicted drinking the water of Aquarius.

#68 Puppis – Stern of Argo Navis

Puppis star constellation.

Originally named for the Argonauts’ vessel, Argo Navis, in which they sailed aboard to retrieve the golden fleece. 

In fact, Argo Navis, the stern of the ship, was once represented by a single larger constellation. 

However, during the 1700s, the constellation broke into several smaller pieces, like the stern.

#69 Pyxis – Compass

Pyxis star constellation.

Pyxis represents the mariner’s or sailor’s compass. 

In fact, this was another 17th-century constellation, named by Lacaille.

#70 Reticulum – Reticle

Reticulum star constellation.

It was named for a reticle or fibrous piece of a telescope or microscope’s eyepiece. 

French astronomer, Lacaille named the constellation to honor the reticle of his telescope, used during the 1700s to observe the South African skies.

#71 Sagitta – Arrow

Sagitta star constellation.

Sagitta depicts the Greek mythology arrow used by Heracles to slay the eagle gnawing on Prometheus’ liver. Gross.

#72 Sagittarius – Archer

Sagittarius star constellation.

Sagittarius depicts a centaur aiming an arrow at Antares, the star of the scorpion’s heart (see Scorpius).

#73 Scorpius – Scorpion

Scorpius star constellation.

First named by Ptolemy, Scorpius represents the deadly scorpion that kills Orion, the hunter. 

In fact, it is thought that Orion still runs from the scorpion, as the two are never seen in the sky at the same time.

#74 Sculptor – Sculptor

Sculptor star constellation.

Representing the sculptor’s studio, Sculptor was named by French astronomer Lacaille in the 1700s.

#75 Scutum – Shield

Scutum star constellation.

Named by Hevelius in the 1600s, Scutum represents the shield of Polish King Jan III, worn in the victorious battle of Vienna in 1683.

#76 Serpens – Serpent

Serpens star constellation.

This constellation is divided into two different parts: Serpens Caput meaning Serpent Head, and Serpens Cauda meaning Serpent Tail.

Serpens represents the snake, held by Asclepius, the great Greek healer, depicted in the constellation Ophiuchus.

#77 Sextans – Sextant

Sextans star constellation.

Another constellation named by Polish astronomer, Hevelius. 

It is named after the astronomical sextant used to measure star positions.

#78 Taurus – Bull

Taurus star constellation.

Taurus, the bull, is another ancient constellation dating back to Ptolemy in the 2nd century. 

In Greek mythology, Zeus morphs into a bull to seduce and kidnap Europa, the beautiful daughter of Phoenician King Agenor.

#79 Telescopium – Telescope

Telescopium star constellation.

Yet another constellation named by French astronomer, Lacaille. 

In fact, it’s one of many constellations named after instruments and tools of the time. 

Telescopium depicts a type of refractor telescope.

#80 Triangulum – Triangle

Triangulum star constellation.

Another oldie from Ptolemy in the 2nd century, Triangulum, simply depicts a triangle because of its geometric visual shape. 

Also, Greeks knew Triangulum as Deltoton because it resembled their triangular letter, delta.

#81 Triangulum Australe – Southern triangle

Triangulum Australe star constellation.

Named by Dutch astronomer, Plancius, Triangulum Australe is not associated with any mythologies. 

Basically, it represents the triangular configurations observed in the skies

#82 Tucana – Toucan

Tucana star constellation.

Tucana, the toucan, represents the exotic bird, likely seen during 16th-century journeys of Dutch explorers.

#83 Ursa Major – Big bear

Ursa Major star constellation.

One of the oldest constellations, Ursa Major, the big bear, is widely known across many cultures and mythologies. 

In Greek mythology, Zeus falls in love with the nymph, Callisto. 

However, Zeus’ wife Hera turns the nymph into a bear.

#84 Ursa Minor – Small bear

Ursa Minor star constellation.

Ursa Minor represents Arcas, son of Zeus and nymph Callisto, Zeus’ affection. 

In fact, both characters morph into bears, hidden among the sky, protected from Zeus’ jealous wife, Hera.

#85 Vela – Sails of Argo Navis

Vela star constellation.

One of three constellations that forms the Argonaut’s sailing vessel, Argo Navis. 

Vela is the ship’s sails.

#86 Virgo – Young Maiden

Virgo star constellation.

Virgo represents the daughter of Zeus, Dike, who was Greek mythology’s goddess of justice. 

Virgo is often depicted with majestic wings, holding the scales of justice, seen in constellation Libra.

#87 Volans – Flying Fish

Volans star constellation.

Again, introduced by Dutch explorers of the 1500s, Volans represents a type of fish, able to bound from the water and appear to sail or fly through the air.

#88 Vulpecula – Little Fox

Vulpecula star constellation.

Named by a Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius, Vulpecula depicts a fox holding a goose in its teeth. 

In fact, Hevelius named the constellation after a fox bringing a goose to Cerberus, the dog guarding the entrance to Greek mythology’s underworld.