Are there examples of single stars that are a part of multiple constellations? What about stars that are part of one Western constellation and one non-Western?

Thanks in advance!

  • $\begingroup$ Note1: Constellations are only our mapping of the sky, to make it easier to remark, which star is where, with free eye. In fact, the stars in a constellation can be more far away from eachother as they are from us. Note2: The important thing in the star map is not west-east, but north-south. It is because many constalletions are visible only from the northern/southern hemisphere. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Dec 25, 2017 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ Because of "proper motion", a star can move from one constellation to another, but can't be in two constellations at the same time. $\endgroup$
    – user21
    Dec 16, 2018 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


In traditional constellation shapes / outlines, yes. But the International Astronomical Union (IAU) standardised on a set of 88 constellations in 1922, and from 1924 to 1930 formalised the constellation boundaries, splitting the sky into separarate areas (that cover the complete sky) so there's no ambiguity now.

For example, before the constellations were standardised in 1930, the same star (on the boundary of Auriga and Taurus) was known both as Gamma Aurigae and Beta Tauri.

And the traditional constellations of Ophiuchus (The serpent bearer) and Serpens (the snake) (Where Serpens ran across Ophiucus) was handled by splitting them into Ophiucus and Serpens Caput (snakes head) and Serpens Cauda (snakes tail).

see http://www.ianridpath.com/boundaries.htm for more details.

Different cultures have different traditional constellations. If you have a look at the free Stellarium program (see http://stellarium.org/), that has a set of overlays showing constellations from a number of different cultures. (I don't remember if that's part of the standard installation, or an optional extra you can download).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There is also an "overlap" between traditional asterisms (big dipper, teapot,...) and IAU constellations. $\endgroup$
    – laune
    Dec 25, 2017 at 18:14

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