Patterns in the Sky

People have always looked to the sky and found patterns in the stars. From spiritual to practical, stars aided navigation, timekeeping, and storytelling. Explore our new permanent exhibit, Patterns in the Sky, virtually and dive into the star stories and constellation mythologies from around the world.

About the Exhibit

The constellations referenced today stem from the discoveries of Greek and Roman culture.

An Ancient Greek text written by Ptolemy almost 2,000 years ago lists a group of about 48 formations. Later, between the 16th and 18th centuries, the advent of telescopes allowed us to find more constellations. Today, there are approximately 88 recognized constellations in the night sky.

Although constellations have largely outgrown their uses as navigation and time tools, they continue to serve as a link to the original people who looked to the sky and attempted to understand their universe.

In this exhibit, you will see a selection of constellations identified in the Western World and learn how different cultures interpreted the same stars across the globe.

Explore the constellations