"Have you ever looked up into the sky at night when the stars are out and noticed pictures?? Well, you most likely have. In the night's sky you may see three stars in a row with four other ones surrounding it. That group of stars is called Orion. Some of the constellations can only be seen during certain seasons of the year. Someone on the equator can see all the constellations during the right time of the year. "
The ancient Romans, Greeks, and many other early civilizations looked at groups of stars in the northern two-thirds of the night's sky. They then named those groups of stars after animals and and characters of various myths. The constellation of Leo was named after a lion, Pisces was named after two fish, and Taurus is a bull. Musca was a fly and Tucana is a toucan. The constellations Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, and Orion were named after heroes and heroines of the Greek's mythology.
Some of the well known groups of stars are only parts of a constellation. Those smaller groups are called asterisms. The Big and Little Dippers are asterisms. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation called Ursa Major, that means "Great Bear." The Little Dipper is a part of a constellation called Ursa Minor, meaning "Little Bear."
Somewhere in between the early 1400's and mid-1700's, some European navigators checked out the Southern Hemisphere and looked at many constellations in the most-southern third of the sky. Explorers and mapmakers named those star groups after scientific instruments (tools) and other objects, including animals!!"