The 88 Constellation

There is a discussion at the end of this listing which includes an explanation of the Latin Genitive.

NAME of CONSTELLATION, 3-letter Abbreviation, Meaning of Name, Latin Gentitive

ANDROMEDA, And, Daughter of Cassiopeia, Andromedae
ANTLIA, Ant, Air Pump, Antliae
APUS, Aps, Bird of Paradise, Apodis
AQUARIUS, Aqr, Water Bearer, Aquarii
, Aql, Eagle, Aquilae

ARA, Ara, Altar, Arae
, Ari, Ram, Arietis
AURIGA, Aur, Charioteer, Aurigae
BOOTES, Boo, Herdsman, Bootis
CAELUM, Cae, Engraving Tool, Caeli

CAMELOPARDALIS, Cam, Giraffe, Camelopardalis
CANCER, Cnc, Crab, Cancri
CANES VENATICI, CVn, Hunting Dog, Canum Venaticorum
CANIS MAJOR, CMa, Big Dog, Canis Majoris
CANIS MINOR, CMi, Little Dog, Canis Minoris

CAPRICORNUS, Cap, Sea Goat, Capricorni
CARINA, Car, Ship’s Keel, Carinae
CASSIOPEIA, Cas, Queen of Ethiopia, Cassiopeiae
CENTAURUS, Cen, Centaur, Centauri
CEPHEUS, Cep, King of Ethiopia, Cephei

CETUS, Cet, Whale, Ceti
CHAMAELEON, Cha, Chameleon,
CIRCINUS, Cir, Drawing Compass,
COLUMBA, Col, Dove,
COMA BERENICES, Com, Berenice’s Hair,
Comae Berenices

CORONA AUSTRALIS, CrA, Southern Crown, Coronae Australis
CORONA BOREALIS, CrB, Northern Crown,
Coronae Borealis
CORVUS, Crv, Crow,
CRATER, Crt, Cup,
CRUX, Cru, Southern Cross,

CYGNUS, Cyg, Swan, Cygni
DELPHINUS, Del, Dolphin,
DORADO, Dor, Goldfish,
DRACO, Dra, Dragon,
EQUULEUS, Equ, Little Horse,

ERIDANUS, Eri River, Eridanus, Eridani
FORNAX, For, Furnace, Fornacis
GEMINI, Gem, Twins, Geminorum
GRUS, Gru, Crane, Gruis
HERCULES, Her, Strongman/The Son of Zeus, Herculis

HOROLOGIUM, Hor, Clock, Horologii
HYDRA, Hya, Sea Serpent, Hydrae
HYDRUS, Hyi, Water Snake, Hydri
INDUS, Ind, Indian, Indi
LACERTA, Lac, Lizard, Lacertae

LEO, Leo, Lion, Leonis
LEO MINOR, LMi, Little Lion, Leonis Minoris
LEPUS, Lep, Hare, Leporis
LIBRA, Lib, Scales, Librae
LUPUS, Lup, Wolf, Lupi

LYNX, Lyn, Lynx, Lyncis
LYRA, Lyr, Lyre, Lyrae
MENSA, Men, Table Mountain, Mensae
MICROSCOPIUM, Mic, Microscope, Microscopii
MONOCEROS, Mon, Unicorn, Monocerotis

MUSCA, Mus, Fly, Muscae
NORMA, Nor, Level, Normae
OCTANS, Oct, Octant, Octantis
OPHIUCHUS, Oph, Snake Holder, Ophiuchi
ORION, Ori, The Hunter, Orionis

PAVO, Pav, Peacock, Pavonis
PEGASUS, Peg, The Winged Horse, Pegasi
PERSEUS, Per, Rescuer of Andromeda, Persei
PHOENIX, Phe, Phoenix, Phoenicis
PICTOR, Pic, Easel, Pictoris

PISCES, Psc, Fishes, Piscium
PISCIS AUSTRINUS, PsA, Southern Fish, Piscis Austrini
PUPPIS, Pup, Ship’s Stern, Puppis
PYXIS, Pyx, Ship’s Compass, Pyxidis
RETICULUM, Ret, Eyepiece Reticle, Reticuli

SAGITTA, Sge, Arrow, Sagittae
SAGITTARIUS, Sgr, Archer, Sagittarii
SCORPIUS, Sco, Scorpion, Scorpii
SCULPTOR, Scl, Sculptor’s Apparatus, Sculptoris
SCUTUM, Sct, Shield, Scuti

SERPENS, Ser, Snake, Serpentis
SEXTANS, Sex, Sextant, Sextantis
TAURUS, Tau, Bull, Tauri
TELESCOPIUM, Tel, Telescope, Telescopii
TRIANGULUM, Tri, Triangle, Trianguli

TRIANGULUM AUSTRALE, TrA, Southern Triangle, Trianguli Australis
TUCANA, Tuc, Toucan, Tucanae
URSA MAJOR, UMa, Big Bear, Ursae Majoris
URSA MINOR, UMi, Little Bear, Ursae Minoris
VELA, Vel, Sail, Velorum

VIRGO, Vir, Virgin, Virginis
VOLANS, Vol, Flying Fish, Volantis
VULPECULA, Vul Little Fox, Vulpeculae



HISTORICAL. Most constellations visible from the northern hemisphere originated from the Greeks, as recorded by Ptolemy in his first century book, The Almagest. Coma Berenices and Crux were added around 1603 and Plancius added Camelopardalis and Monoceros in 1613. In 1690, Hevelius added Lacerta, Leo Minor, Lynx, Scutum, Sextans and Vulpecula. At the very end of the 1600’s, the Dutchmen, Pieter Dirkszoon and Frederick de Houtman created 12 southern hemisphere constellations, namely: Apus, Chamaeleon, Dorado, Grus, Hydrus, Indus, Musca, Pavo, Phoenix, Triangulum Australe, Tucana and Volans. In 1756, the Frenchman Nicolas Louis de Lacaille added the last 14 of the southen hemisphere constellations, namely: Antlia, Caelum, Circinus, Fornax, Horologium, Mensa, Microscopium, Norma, Octans, Pictor, Pyxis, Reticulum, Sculptor and Telescopium. He also split the extremely large constellation, Argo Navis (Ship Argo, sailed by Jason and the Argonauts), into Vela, Puppis and Carina.

TRIVIA. Serpens, the Snake, is the only constellation split between two parts of the sky. The Snake is being held by Ophiuchus and lies across his body. The tail, known as Serpens CAUDA is located to the east or left of Ophiuchus and the head, known as Serpens CAPUT, is located to the west or right of Ophiuchus. Technically, Ophiuchus is the 13 constellation of the zodiac because part of its boundary (and foot) crosses the ecliptic. Crux occupies the least area in the sky and Hydra the most area.

LATIN GENITIVE. Genitive refers to a grammatical case resulting in a spelling variation of a word that indicates or implies a relationship of possession. Genitives are not used in modern English. Where they exist, they are a holdover from Latin and other languages. Genitives of the constellations are still used today in conjunction with the Bayer letters, Flamsteed numbers or similar designation to “name” stars. For example, the “alpha” star in Orion, as asigned by Bayer, but best known as Betelgeuse, could also be referred to as alpha Orionis, where Orionis is the genitive form of Orion, indicating possession of the alpha star. Betelgeuse can also be indicated as 58 Orionis when referring to it by its Flamsteed number. Most of us have heard of alpha Centauri, one of the closest stars to us. This is its gentitive name using its Bayer letter designation. This star is also commonly called by its name, Rigel Kentaurus.

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