The easiest way is to use an online celestial planetarium – such as Stellarium. In this you only have to enter the hip number of your star (z.B. "HIP 677"). As a result you will get a daily updated star map with exact information about the position of your star.
On the right you see an example image from Stellarium. The image shows you what you can see on the 14.02.2012 (the Valentine’s Day) you will see at midnight on the northern horizon. You will see two interesting constellations at once, the very beautiful Swan and the Lyre with Vega, perhaps the most famous star of the northern sky. With an online planetarium like Stellarium, you can easily search for your star using the search function and see where your star is at any given time in the sky.
For advanced users: Always have everything with you – The rotatable star chart
If you want to be independent from the computer and also be able to find your baptized star in the wilderness, for example at the campfire or while camping?
Then the purchase of a rotatable star chart would be the right thing for you. On a rotating star map, you use dials to set your date and primeval time. You will then see in which cardinal direction and at which altitude you can see your star. Using the star chart is quite intuitive after some practice. The instructions that come with a rotatable star chart explain exactly what you need to do to find your constellation in no time at all.
In the picture on the right you can see how a typical rotatable star chart looks like. By the way: Each rotatable star chart is specially designed for use in a geographic region. Within Central Europe you don’t need to worry about it though. The differences between the starry sky in Hamburg and Vienna are only marginal.
For professionals: finding your way around the sky independently
The most demanding, but also the most flexible option is to search for your star completely without any other aids. This option takes a little practice, but familiarizes you with the firmament on a deeper level.
The first thing you need to do is to find the North Star. Polaris is one of the brighter stars of the northern sky and is located exactly in the north at an altitude of about 50 degrees. Do you know the constellation of the Big Dipper? If so, you can use the big dipper to find Polaris. How this is done you can see in the drawing on the left.
You look for the Big Dipper first. Look at it closely: Its seven brightest stars are all different in brightness. If you extend the rear axis of the Dipper by a factor of five, you will find the fainter Polaris in the Little Dipper. It gives you a fixed point of orientation. It forms the celestial north pole and therefore always stands exactly in the north. With its help you can always find the cardinal points in the firmament.
Next, consult the information we have provided for your constellation. Is your constellation a so-called summer constellation, a winter constellation, or a circumpolar constellation??
A summer constellation is defined by the fact that it is visible as long as possible in summer. So this means that in summer they see their summer constellation rising in the east at nightfall. During the night the constellation will move to the south and west before it sets again at twilight time.For spring constellations the same is true in spring, for autumn constellations the same is true in autumn and for winter constellations the same is true in winter.
So if you z.B. If you have an autumn constellation and it is also autumn, you have it relatively easy. Your constellation is near the horizon in the east in the evening, while it is high above the horizon in the south at midnight and sets behind the horizon again in the west at dawn.
But what about an autumn constellation that you z.B. want to observe in winter? you will be able to see it only by the hour. For when it is just midnight in winter, and the winter constellations can be seen high in the south, the spring constellations are just rising in the east. And in the west the autumn constellations are already setting again. It is the same in every other season of the year. The constellations of the past season can be seen only between evening and midnight, the constellations of the coming season only between midnight and dawn. The constellations of summer, on the other hand, would not be visible at all in winter.
So if you know what time of year it is, and you know what time of year your constellation is best visible, then you can roughly estimate at what time of day you can observe your constellation and in what cardinal direction.
How high above the horizon your constellation will be though? This information gives you the so-called declination of your star. A piece of information that we give you on the information sheet for your star. The rule of thumb is, the greater the declination, the higher in the sky you need to look.
Before you start looking, memorize the outline of your constellation and neighboring constellations well. It is not easy to find a constellation without all the aids. Anyway, with a little practice you will surely stumble upon your constellation or one of your neighboring constellations. You have forgotten which star from your constellation is your baptismal star? No problem, you can find the exact position on our detailed star map.
By the way. With a circumpolar constellation you have it especially easy. A circumpolar constellation is not only visible all year round at any time of the night. Like the Big Dipper, it is also located in the direct vicinity of the North Star and is therefore particularly easy to find.
Some more general advice:
Have patience! Even bright stars are not easy to find in clouds and bright city lighting. Get your eyes used to the dark. And especially in winter. Do not underestimate the cold, but make yourself comfortable with warm clothes and warm drinks.
The fox, also called vixen, is a rather inconspicuous constellation of the northern sky. You can recognize this constellation by a jagged open line that draws the dorsal line of a fox from the tip of its nose to its tail. You can almost see the fox "lacing", as the hunter calls the gait of a fox.
Shape and position:
The constellation of Fox is located between the conspicuous Swan (upper right) and the Arrow (Sagitta, lower left). None of its stars are brighter than magnitude 4. However, the starry and bright band of the Milky Way runs through the fox, making it interesting for observations. So the fox contains a number of open star clusters which can be observed well. Special features in the fox are the "Planetary Nebula M 27" and also the open star cluster "Collinder 399". The brightest star in the fox is a red giant (Anser).
Right Ascension: 18h 57m to 21h 30m
Declination: +19 to +29 degrees
Brightest star: Anser (Alpha Vulpeculae)
The constellation of the Fox was not classified until 1690, so there is no tradition of a mythological background. Formerly there was the "fox and the goose," but the goose is no longer a constellation these days. Unfortunately, there is no evidence of any mythological connection to either of these two animals. However, they could be related to Zeus, the father of the gods, who gave some other animals a place of honor in the firmament – for consolation or as a final honor after their slaughter in battle. Whether the fox and perhaps also the goose are therefore in the sky as a constellation is uncertain.
Best time of year to observe it: Summer
Constellation Little Bear
The Little Bear (Latin Ursa Minor – actually Smaller Bear) is a constellation of the northern sky. It is also called the Little Dipper and can be seen from Europe throughout the year. Because of this annual visibility the constellation Little Bear is also very suitable for a star sponsorship. Main star of this constellation is the star Polaris. Polaris has a great importance for astronomy, because all stars and also the sun seem to revolve around this star during the course of a day. Also in the legends of the Indian Vedas the polar star plays an important role, because there the polar star belongs to a group of gods.
Shape and position:
The Little Bear resembles the part of the Big Dipper called the Big Dipper and is therefore also called the Little Dipper. Unlike the Big Dipper, however, the Little Dipper’s drawbar is bent upward. The main star, Polaris, appears to be fixed in the sky during one night. Its position is to the north at a height above the horizon corresponding to the latitude of the observer’s position.
Right Ascension: 0h 0m to 24h 00m
Declination: +65 to 90 degrees
Brightest star: Alpha Ursae Minoris (Polaris or Polar Star)
The beautiful nymph Callisto once received her son Arkas from Zeus, the father of the gods. After birth she was transformed into a she-bear by the jealous mother of the gods. Arkas meanwhile roamed around as a hunter and almost took his mother as a prey. Zeus, in order to avoid similar things in the future, also transformed his son into a bear and placed both of them in the sky.
Best time of year to observe: All year round, the best time is in spring
Constellation Great Bear
The Big Dipper, popularly known as the Big Dipper, is the most famous constellation in the night sky. You can see this very large constellation from Europe all year round. This is called "circumpolar" in technical language. The constellation of the Great Bear (Latin Ursa Maior "greater bear") is a constellation of the northern sky and a very ancient constellation, known to the ancient Egyptians.
Shape and position:
The Big Dipper consists of a very large number of stars. Only the seven brightest stars form the part of this constellation known as the "Big Dipper" and known to the general public. The stars Alioth, Mizar, and Benetnash form the drawbar, and the stars Megrez, Phekda, Merak, and Dubhe form the box of the chariot. A partial constellation is also called asterism. An asterism is a very characteristic pattern in the sky, which itself is not considered a constellation. Of course, you can also create from this well-known "classic" of the constellations buy a star.
Right Ascension: 8h 8m to 14h 29m
Declination: +28 to +73 degrees
Brightest star: Epsilon Ursae maioris (Alioth)
The mythology behind the constellation of the Great Bear corresponds to a tragedy. Greek legends say that Zeus had fathered with Callisto the common son Arkas. In the palace of Lycaon he wanted to test whether his guest was really the father of the gods. For this purpose, he served Zeus Arkas cut up for dinner. This one recognized the terrible deed and killed Lyakon’s sons. He turned this one into a wolf.
Arkas grew up, but even after that he was not spared from misfortune. When the skilled hunter he had become, he met his mother during a foray in the form of a she-bear. Of course, he didn’t recognize her and wanted to kill her. Zeus prevented this and sent Callisto and Arkas to heaven, where they can still be seen today as the Great Bear and Bear Keeper. Here they now live together in peace and harmony.
Best time of year to observe: All year round, best in winter
The constellation "Triangle" is located in the northern fixed star sky. It is a relatively inconspicuous constellation of only 3 stars and of these only one reaches magnitude 3. On the southern hemisphere there is a suitable counterpart to the "Triangle", the "Southern Triangle" or "Triangulum Australis" respectively. The northern "triangle" belongs to those constellations of antiquity, which already Ptolemy listed.
Shape and position:
About 10° north of the head of the constellation "Aries" you can find the northern triangle. The most prominent object in the constellation Triangle is the spriral galaxy M33. Also the open star cluster NGC 752 is nice to observe. The constellation represents a somewhat elongated isosceles triangle consisting of the three brightest stars. Its neighboring constellations are Andromeda, Pisces, Aries as well as Perseus, which you can also buy from us as a star baptism.
right ascension: 1h 31m to 2h 50m
Brightest star: Beta Trianguli (HIP 10064)
The Greeks called the constellation "Triangle" also "Trigonon" "Delta" or "Deltoton. Among other things, they also saw the Nile Delta in it. But the triangle also stood for Sicily, which was dedicated to Demeter. From Sicily Persephone is said to have been abducted to Hades. It is reported about the fact that the God of the underworld, thus Hades, is to have fallen in love with Kore. Hades therefore asked his brother Zeus, the father of the gods, for the hand of Kore. But Zeus neither agreed nor disagreed, because he knew how little Kore wanted to go with Hades into the sunless underworld. Hades kidnapped Kore while she was picking flowers. After Zeus ignored her cries for help, she resigned herself to her fate and was henceforth called Persephone.