Map of the Constellations
The charts above show the division of the night sky into 88 constellations, plotted on a rectangular grid of right ascension and declination. They were generated using StarCharter, a command-line tool for producing vector-graphics charts of the night sky, written by the author and freely available for download.
To view the whole sky, click on Expand chart, or use the Download PDF link for the highest possible quality (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
The markers along the path of the ecliptic indicate the position of the Sun at midnight UTC on the first day of each month, averaged over the four-year cycle of leap years. Stars are shown down to magnitude 6 (V-band), and deep-sky objects are shown down to magnitude 14.
By selecting the Galactic coordinates, the sky can be rotated into an alternative coordinate system, in which the plane of the Milky Way runs horizontally across the middle of the chart.
Rather than placing the north celestial pole (close to the Pole Star) at the top, and the south celestial pole (Octans) at the bottom, galactic coordinates place the north galactic pole (Coma Berenices) at the top, and the south galactic pole (Sculptor) at the bottom.
The rectangular projection used here appears very distorted at the top and bottom. The sky is a spherical surface, just like the surface of the Earth, and it is impossible to represent it on a flat map without distorting some areas. Maps of the world typically show similar distortions when trying to represent the Arctic and Antarctic.