This printable guide will help you get familiar with the night sky. This PDF document contains several charts you can use for various times of the year, but if you wait long enough as the Earth turns, other charts in the document may become useful in a single night.
Constellation Guide [Adobe PDF]
Circumpolar – Year Round (Pages 4-5)
Winter Hexagon – Jan to April evenings (Pages 6-8)
Spring Diamond – March to July evenings (Pages 11-13)
Summer Triangle – May to December evenings (Pages 14-15)
Summer Ecliptic – July to October evenings (Pages 16-17)
Fall Square – September to January evenings (Pages 18-19)
Watery Ecliptic – October to December evenings (Pages 20-21)
Plan your first night. Choose your season and read through the descriptions and objects you can see. Note the initial paragraphs for each section that gives easily identified objects such as the Big Dipper or Orion’s belt to start with. Start memorizing some of the key star names and constellations. Note the objects you would like to view. When out under the night sky, trace out the constellations and shapes in the sky. (i.e. Summer Triangle). Start keeping a list of the objects you see.
The dates given for each chart reference culmination about 9 pm.