Basic Guide for the Brightest Stars and Constellations of the Northern Hemisphere
One of the most easily detectable constellations in the northern sky is the Great Bear (or Ursa Major, or Plough). The constellation looks like a saucepan and is close to another pan-like constellation, the Little Bear or Ursa Minor. According to the Greek mythology, Zeus fell in love with a huntress named Callisto. Zeus' wife, Hera transformed Callisto into a bear. In order to save Callisto from being hunted by her own son Arcas, Zeus decided to transform Arcas into a bear as well, and then place them both among the stars to be safe.
The Great Bear can be used to locate the North Star which lies just above the North Pole. The North Star is very important as far as navigation is concerned and is often used as a reference point by sailors. In order to see the North Star, you can draw a line connecting the two stars at the bottom of the "pan" and then multiply this distance by five. Your eyes will then arrive at the North Star which always stays at the same spot.
The most impressive constellation of the northern sky is Orion, also known as the "hunter". Orion actually resembles the figure of a hunter with a very distinctive line of stars in the middle also known as the Orion's belt. This is a very characteristic formation and is often used to locate other constellations. For example, after locating Orion's belt, you can easily see Betelgeuse, which lies on Orion's left shoulder. A little above Orion's shoulder at the north-west, you may see two bright stars Castor and Pollux, belonging to the Gemini constellation. The two stars represent the heads of the twins that Zeus took pity on, after one of them was killed. He gave them a place in the heaven so that they would never miss one another.
If you draw a line from Orion's belt to the bottom left of the constellation, you will be able to see Sirius, the brightest star of the sky, which is actually a binary system. Sirius belongs to the constellation of Canis Major and is also known as the Dog Star. According to the myth, Sirius was actually one of Orion's hunting dogs, who was accidentally killed by Artemis.