ExploreExhibitsGunther Depths of SpaceA Familiar Star Pattern

A Familiar Star Pattern

The stars of the Big Dipper look very different when viewed from different vantage points in space.

People have always seen patterns in the stars. We assigned meanings to star groupings by naming them after familiar things: gods, people, animals, and objects.

The stars in patterns may not be near one another in space. They could be at different distances from Earth. The star patterns look the way they do only from our unique vantage point in space.