According to Royal Spanish Academy (RAE ), constellation It is a term that can also be written as costing , although this second form is used infrequently. Coming from the Latin word constellatio, Its about star group that, through imaginary lines , they shape a drawing that refers to a certain figure .
Constellations, therefore, are sets created by convention . The practice of grouping stars according to imaginary strokes dates back to the Antiquity , when different peoples began to register virtual figures in the sky. The position of the constellations in the night sky results in an invariable appearance.
Since we are before discoveries very old and that there are no historical records on which to base for study, it is not easy to specify exactly the origin of the first constellations drawn in the West. According to some research, Taurus, Scorpio and Leo (the bull, the scorpion and the lion, respectively) were "discovered" approximately four millennia before the Christian era, although they did not have those same names.
Despite what the observation of the constellations may mean today, it is estimated that the first human beings who were interested in the arrangement of the stars had more practical reasons, that is, who sought to rely on this plane of nature to better organize your tasks, your movements and your rites . Thanks to the creation of different constellations, for example, people from ancient villages could measure the passage of weather and the arrival of the stations with more precision.
The constellations also allowed ancient civilizations orient much better throughout their travels, both by sea and by land, since the figures that warned when relating the stars to each other added to the series of signs and landmarks they used to trace their routes.
The International Astronomical Union , the group that makes the decisions related to the denomination of the planets and the establishment of astronomy standards, among other topics, recognizes 88 constellations , of which almost half were imagined by ancient Greek astronomers.
Chinese culture is the source of one of the largest and oldest constellation groups worldwide. As with many of its elements, based on the language itself, its constellations do not resemble those we learn to recognize in the West; in large part, the reason for this difference is because this town developed its version of the astronomy at the same time as the Greeks, in a totally independent and parallel way. Broadly speaking, we can say that the Chinese constellations are divided into 3 enclosures and 28 mansions.
It is important to keep in mind that constellations are arbitrary : The stars do not have an association with each other and can even be located hundreds of light years away. It is a human construction and even the same star can belong to different constellations according to each culture .
One of the best known constellations is Orion , which presents the asterism known as Orion's belt or The Three Marys . This set consists of three stars bright (Mintaka , Alnilam and Alnitak ) that are easily visible.
The zodiac signs proposed by the astrology , on the other hand, are linked to constellations such as Aries , Pisces , Taurus and Leo . Astrologers argue that these signs determine certain personality characteristics and somehow govern the destiny of people.
In colloquial language, a constellation is called a meeting or a set of figures prominent or famous . For example: “The marriage of the mayor was a constellation of celebrities”, “The constellation of stars of Real Madrid never worked as a team”.