Quiz: How well do you know the zodiac constellations?

Fantastic beasts loom in the night sky—can you find them?

For as long as humans have been looking up at the twinkling stars in the night sky, they have seen images of fantastic beasts and mighty gods looking back down at them. While cultures around the world have given names to the most prominent star patterns, astronomers today recognize 88 modern constellations largely based on classical Greek teachings. Of these, the constellations of the zodiac are perhaps the most well-known.

Sky-watchers have long placed special importance on the zodiac, since these constellations lie along the ecliptic, the path that the sun, the moon, and the planets follow across the sky. Test your astronomical knowledge, and try and identify these famous zodiac patterns.

By Francis Rivera and Kennedy Elliott. Illustrations by Jillian Ditner.

Published Oct. 10, 2018

1. This constellation is well known for its association with an astrological term that was popularized in the 1960s and 1970s by the counterculture movement in the United States.

Virgo

Aquarius

Andromeda

Aries

It’s Aquarius, the water bearer.

2. This familiar pattern is most easily identifiable by its two brightest stars: Castor and Pollux. It was commonly regarded as a patron of sailors.

Gemini

Hydra

Pisces

Aquarius

It’s Gemini, the twins.

3. In Greek mythology, this creature was sent to divert Hercules’ attention during his battle with the monstrous Hydra. None of this constellation’s stars are particularly bright.

Scorpius

Cancer

Libra

Centaurus

It’s Cancer, the crab.

4. This group of stars is located nearby other water-related constellations and is the namesake of a southern tropic. It sits in a faint part of the night sky and is a bit difficult to view from Earth.

Pegasus

Aquarius

Cancer

Capricornus

It’s Capricornus, the goat.

5. This constellation contains two of the largest star clusters visible from Earth: the Hyades and the Pleiades. It is a symbol of strength and fertility.

Leo

Capricornus

Taurus

Hercules

It’s Taurus, the bull.

6. When observing this gorgeous constellation, keep an eye out for Antares, a bright red supergiant star, and the Butterfly Cluster, an open cluster of stars that resembles a butterfly.

Ursa Major

Sagittarius

Scorpius

Aries

It’s Scorpius, the scorpion.

7. Throughout history, different cultures have seen various figures contained within this distinctive group of stars, including a winged archer, a centaur, and a tea pot.

Sagittarius

Hercules

Taurus

Gemini

It’s Sagittarius, the archer.

8. The stars of this constellation have been compared to either the “scales of justice” or the “claws of a scorpion.”

Libra

Scorpius

Draco

Taurus

It’s Libra, the scales.

9. Many of the ancient civilizations that inhabited the Middle East associated this constellation with the sun, because the summer solstice once occurred when the sun passed through it. The bright star Regulus serves as the “heart” of this mythical beast.

Pegasus

Aries

Sagittarius

Leo

It’s Leo, the lion.

10. This difficult-to-spot constellation contains one of the earliest white dwarfs ever identified, known as Van Maanen’s Star. In Western mythology, these figures’ tails were tied together.

Pisces

Orion

Cancer

Taurus

It’s Pisces, the fish.

11. This expansive constellation (one of the largest in the night sky) contains thousands of galaxies. It is the only female figure represented among the zodiac.

Aquarius

Libra

Virgo

Andromeda

It’s Virgo, the virgin.

12. This creature with a golden fleece was sent to rescue the children of a Greek king. The constellation is considered the first in the zodiac, since at one point in the ancient past, the sun passed through it during the vernal equinox.

Sagittarius

Aries

Phoenix

Leo

It’s Aries, the ram.

13. Bonus Question: Astrological horoscopes observe only 12 signs of the zodiac. But avid sky-watchers know that an additional constellation lies on the ecliptic, and this serpentine form covers a significant expanse of the night sky. What is the 13th member of the zodiac?

Perseus

Serpens

Andromeda

Ophiucus

It’s Ophiucus, the serpent bearer.

Source: In-the-sky.org

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