Enjoy some constellation trivia (part 1)

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Monday, January 21, 2008

In the past 8 months, I’ve given a talk titled “How the Constellations Came to Be” three times. At the end of the talk, I give a few bits of trivia related to the constellations. I thought it might be fun to expand on those bits and made them into a blog quiz. Don’t worry, it’s self-graded.

Because you’re reading this blog on a computer screen, you have the Internet at your disposal. Humor me, though, and take a crack at these questions without the help of cyberspace. I’ll provide the answers in my next blog. Some of the questions are easier than others, but all fall in the category “trivia.” If you get more than half of them correct without referring to the World Wide Web, I applaud you.

Ready?

1) Which constellation occupies two regions of sky?
2) Name the two constellations that contribute stars to the “False Cross.”
3) Astronomers formalized the constellation boundaries in 1928. Before that time, two constellations lay claim to the star Elnath. Name them.
4) Which constellation has more bordering constellations than any other?
5) Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to Earth. Barnard’s Star is second-closest. Which constellation contains Barnard’s Star?
6) What constellation contains the first New General Catalog object, NGC 1?
7) Astronomers discovered two planets, Uranus and Pluto (classified a planet at its discovery in 1930), in the same constellation. Name it.
8) What did the extinct constellation Marmor Sculptile represent?
9) From which constellation does the Quadrantid meteor shower originate?
10) Name the constellation that contains the most Messier objects.
11) Which constellation is the smallest?
12) French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille invented 14 constellations. Can you name one of them? Add a point if you can name two.
13) Which constellation contains the star named Arrakis?
14) Rank the following zodiacal constellations by size: Libra, Sagittarius, Scorpius, Taurus.
15) Which constellation contains the asterism known as the “Lozenge”?
16) Name the constellation with the most visible (naked-eye) stars.
17) Which constellation contains the Small Magellanic Cloud?
18) Into which three constellations did astronomers divide the now-extinct constellation Argo Navis?
19) German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered Neptune September 23, 1846. In which constellation did he find it?
20) Which constellation is second-largest?
21) Variable stars change their brightnesses over a period of time. What constellation contains the first variable star discovered?
22) Which two astronomers developed the three-letter constellation abbreviations?
23) Which constellation contains the former “North Star,” Thuban?
24) Name the only constellation that represents a Biblical figure.
25) In 1922, astronomers assigned constellations three-letter abbreviations. Two constellations, however, contain letters in their abbreviations not in the constellation names. Which two?

Finally, if you get the next question correct without help, you’re a constellation master:
BONUS) How many constellation names begin with the letter “C”?

Check back next week for the answers and to see how well you did.

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