Cup constellation comes

The action at last year’s Melbourne Cup.
The action at last year’s Melbourne Cup.

This is a great constellation to see in the northern sky at the time of Australia’s famous race.

The constellation is named after the winged horse called Pegasus, which features in Greek mythology.

Humankind has been making patterns out of stars for centuries. In the second century, the Greek astronomer, Ptolemy named Pegasus as one of 48 constellations.

Today, there are 88 named constellations, including the Southern Cross, Orion and Scorpio.

When looking at the constellation of Pegasus, stargazers can also make out an asterism called the Great Square.

An asterism is a pattern of stars that make a recognisable shape for stargazers. Some asterisms form part of the official 88 constellations.

To see Pegasus, look directly north at 8.30pm on Melbourne Cup night and see if you can spot four fairly bright stars 20-30 degrees above the horizon, in the shape of a square.

This is the body of the horse with its neck and head angling up from the top left star of the square. The horse’s legs hang down towards the horizon.

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