Guided Tour

Our interactive guided tour can help identify a few patterns of stars that can be seen overhead this evening, weather permitting. Since ancient times, people have seen patterns of stars in the sky and named them accordingly. In reality, there is usually no connection between the stars that we can see; some may be a few light-years away, others many thousands. Just as there are man-made borders between countries, so the 88 modern-day constellations have artificial borders agreed by the International Astronomical Union. Our sky map is best viewed on a wide screen. Please note: this page is still under development.

Late summer evenings are great for stargazing when one of the most splendid of all the constellations, Cygnus is overhead. Unlike many constellations, Cygnus resembles its name – a swan in flight. It is also known as the Northern Cross. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, runs through the centre of the cross-shaped pattern, making it wonderfully rich in stars. Deneb is the brightest star (magnitude 1.3) in Cygnus, and marks the tail end of the swan. At the head of the swan is Albireo, which a small telescope reveals is a superb double star; the primary is golden yellow, its companion vivid blue – the most spectacular coloured pair in the sky. M29 and M39 are prominent open clusters, easily seen through binoculars.


A small constellation, Lyra (the harp) boasts many interesting objects. The brilliant blue star Vega is the fourth-brightest in the sky (magnitude 0.03) at 26 light-years away. M56 is a bright globular cluster. M57 (the Ring Nebula) is a faint star that has shed its outer shell, a small but beautiful sight through a telescope.


Hercules is not a prominent constellation, with no stars brighter than 3rd magnitude. It contains two bright globular clusters. M13 is the brightest globular cluster in the northern hemisphere with over 300,000 stars. At 14 billion years old, M92 is the oldest known globular cluster.