88 modern constellations by area

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Hydra is the largest constellation.

The table below ranks the 88 modern constellations by the solid angle that they subtend in the sky, measured in square degrees and millisteradians.

These solid angles depend on arbitrary boundaries between the constellations: the list below is based on constellation boundaries drawn up by Eugène Delporte in 1930 on behalf of the IAU and published in Délimitation scientifique des constellations (Cambridge University Press). Before Delporte's work, there was no precise list of the boundaries of each constellation.

Delporte drew the boundaries along vertical and horizontal lines of right ascension and declination; however, he did so for the epoch B1875.0, which means that due to precession of the equinoxes, the borders on a modern star map (e.g., for epoch J2000) are already somewhat skewed and no longer perfectly vertical or horizontal. This skew will increase over the years and centuries to come. However, this does not change the solid angle of any constellation.

Rank Family [1] Abbrev. Constellation Solid angle
("Area")
(sq. deg.) [2]
Solid angle
(millisteradians)
Per­cent­age Right ascension
(hours & mins) [3]
Decli­nation
(degs & mins)
Quad [4]
01 Her Hya Hydra 1302.844 396.869 3.16% 11 36.73 −14 31.91 SQ2
02 Zod Vir Virgo 1294.428 394.305 3.14% 13 24.39 −04 09.51 SQ3
03 Urs UMa Ursa Major 1279.660 389.807 3.10% 11 18.76 +50 43.27 NQ2
04 Per Cet Cetus 1231.411 375.109 2.99% 01 40.10 −07 10.76 SQ1
05 Her Her Hercules 1225.148 373.201 2.97% 17 23.16 +27 29.93 NQ3
06 Wat Eri Eridanus 1137.919 346.630 2.76% 03 18.02 −28 45.37 SQ1
07 Per Peg Pegasus 1120.794 341.413 2.72% 22 41.84 +19 27.98 NQ4
08 Urs Dra Draco 1082.952 329.886 2.63% 15 08.64 +67 00.40 NQ3
09 Her Cen Centaurus 1060.422 323.023 2.57% 13 04.27 −47 20.72 SQ3
10 Zod Aqr Aquarius  979.854 298.481 2.38% 22 17.38 −10 47.35 SQ4
11 Her Oph Ophiuchus  948.340 288.881 2.30% 17 23.69 −07 54.74 SQ3
12 Zod Leo Leo  946.964 288.462 2.30% 10 40.03 +13 08.32 NQ2
13 Urs Boo Boötes  906.831 276.237 2.20% 14 42.64 +31 12.16 NQ3
14 Zod Psc Pisces  889.417 270.932 2.16% 00 28.97 +13 41.23 NQ1
15 Zod Sgr Sagittarius  867.432 264.235 2.10% 19 05.94 −28 28.61 SQ4
16 Her Cyg Cygnus  803.983 244.907 1.95% 20 35.28 +44 32.70 NQ4
17 Zod Tau Taurus  797.249 242.856 1.93% 04 42.13 +14 52.63 NQ1
18 Urs Cam Camelopardalis  756.828 230.543 1.83% 08 51.37 +69 22.89 NQ2
19 Per And Andromeda  722.278 220.018 1.75% 00 48.46 +37 25.91 NQ1
20 Wat Pup Puppis  673.434 205.140 1.63% 07 15.48 −31 10.64 SQ2
21 Per Aur Auriga  657.438 200.267 1.59% 06 04.42 +42 01.68 NQ2
22 Her Aql Aquila  652.473 198.755 1.58% 19 40.02 +03 24.65 NQ4
23 Her Ser Serpens [5]  636.928 194.019 1.54% 16 57.04 +06 07.32 NQ3
24 Per Per Perseus  614.997 187.339 1.49% 03 10.50 +45 00.79 NQ1
25 Per Cas Cassiopeia  598.407 182.285 1.45% 01 19.16 +62 11.04 NQ1
26 Ori Ori Orion  594.120 180.979 1.44% 05 34.59 +05 56.94 NQ1
27 Per Cep Cepheus  587.787 179.050 1.42% 02 32.64 +71 00.51 NQ4
28 Urs Lyn Lynx  545.386 166.134 1.32% 07 59.53 +47 28.00 NQ2
29 Zod Lib Libra  538.052 163.900 1.30% 15 11.96 −15 14.08 SQ3
30 Zod Gem Gemini  513.761 156.501 1.25% 07 04.24 +22 36.01 NQ2
31 Zod Cnc Cancer  505.872 154.097 1.23% 08 38.96 +19 48.35 NQ2
32 Wat Vel Vela  499.649 152.202 1.21% 09 34.64 −47 10.03 SQ2
33 Zod Sco Scorpius  496.783 151.329 1.20% 16 53.24 −27 01.89 SQ3
34 Wat Car Carina  494.184 150.537 1.20% 08 41.70 −63 13.16 SQ2
35 Ori Mon Monoceros  481.569 146.694 1.17% 07 03.63 +00 16.93 NQ2
36 Lac Scl Sculptor  474.764 144.621 1.15% 00 26.28 −32 05.30 SQ1
37 Bay Phe Phoenix  469.319 142.963 1.14% 00 55.91 −48 34.84 SQ1
38 Urs CVn Canes Venatici  465.194 141.706 1.13% 13 06.96 +40 06.11 NQ3
39 Zod Ari Aries  441.395 134.457 1.07% 02 38.16 +20 47.54 NQ1
40 Zod Cap Capricornus  413.947 126.095 1.00% 21 02.93 −18 01.39 SQ4
41 Lac For Fornax  397.502 121.086 0.96% 02 47.88 −31 38.07 SQ1
42 Urs Com Coma Berenices  386.475 117.727 0.94% 12 47.27 +23 18.34 NQ3
43 Ori CMa Canis Major  380.118 115.791 0.92% 06 49.74 −22 08.42 SQ2
44 Bay Pav Pavo  377.666 115.044 0.92% 19 36.71 −65 46.89 SQ4
45 Bay Gru Grus  365.513 111.342 0.89% 22 27.39 −46 21.11 SQ4
46 Her Lup Lupus  333.683 101.646 0.81% 15 13.21 −42 42.53 SQ3
47 Her Sex Sextans  313.515  95.502 0.76% 10 16.29 −02 36.88 SQ2
48 Bay Tuc Tucana  294.557  89.727 0.71% 23 46.64 −65 49.80 SQ4
49 Bay Ind Indus  294.006  89.559 0.71% 21 58.33 −59 42.40 SQ4
50 Lac Oct Octans  291.045  88.657 0.71% 23 00.00 −82 09.12 SQ4
51 Ori Lep Lepus  290.291  88.428 0.70% 05 33.95 −19 02.78 SQ1
52 Her Lyr Lyra  286.476  87.266 0.69% 18 51.17 +36 41.36 NQ4
53 Her Crt Crater  282.398  86.023 0.68% 11 23.75 −15 55.74 SQ2
54 Wat Col Columba  270.184  82.303 0.65% 05 51.76 −35 05.67 SQ1
55 Her Vul Vulpecula  268.165  81.688 0.65% 20 13.88 +24 26.56 NQ4
56 Urs UMi Ursa Minor  255.864  77.941 0.62% 15 00.00 +77 41.99 NQ3
57 Lac Tel Telescopium  251.512  76.615 0.61% 19 19.54 −51 02.21 SQ4
58 Lac Hor Horologium  248.885  75.815 0.60% 03 16.56 −53 20.18 SQ1
59 Lac Pic Pictor  246.739  75.161 0.60% 05 42.46 −53 28.45 SQ1
60 Wat PsA Piscis Austrinus  245.375  74.745 0.59% 22 17.07 −30 38.53 SQ4
61 Bay Hyi Hydrus  243.035  74.033 0.59% 02 20.65 −69 57.39 SQ1
62 Lac Ant Antlia  238.901  72.773 0.58% 10 16.43 −32 29.01 SQ2
63 Her Ara Ara  237.057  72.212 0.57% 17 22.49 −56 35.30 SQ3
64 Urs LMi Leo Minor  231.956  70.658 0.56% 10 14.72 +32 08.08 NQ2
65 Wat Pyx Pyxis  220.833  67.270 0.54% 08 57.16 −27 21.10 SQ2
66 Lac Mic Microscopium  209.513  63.821 0.51% 20 57.88 −36 16.49 SQ4
67 Bay Aps Apus  206.327  62.851 0.50% 16 08.65 −75 18.00 SQ3
68 Per Lac Lacerta  200.688  61.133 0.49% 22 27.68 +46 02.51 NQ4
69 Wat Del Delphinus  188.549  57.435 0.46% 20 41.61 +11 40.26 NQ4
70 Her Crv Corvus  183.801  55.989 0.45% 12 26.52 −18 26.20 SQ3
71 Ori CMi Canis Minor  183.367  55.857 0.44% 07 39.17 +06 25.63 NQ2
72 Bay Dor Dorado  179.173  54.579 0.43% 05 14.51 −59 23.22 SQ1
73 Urs CrB Corona Borealis  178.710  54.438 0.43% 15 50.59 +32 37.49 NQ3
74 Lac Nor Norma  165.290  50.350 0.40% 15 54.18 −51 21.09 SQ3
75 Lac Men Mensa  153.484  46.754 0.37% 05 24.90 −77 30.24 SQ1
76 Bay Vol Volans  141.354  43.059 0.34% 07 47.73 −69 48.07 SQ2
77 Bay Mus Musca  138.355  42.145 0.34% 12 35.28 −70 09.66 SQ3
78 Per Tri Triangulum  131.847  40.163 0.32% 02 11.07 +31 28.56 NQ1
79 Bay Cha Chamaeleon  131.592  40.085 0.32% 10 41.53 −79 12.30 SQ2
80 Her CrA Corona Australis  127.696  38.898 0.31% 18 38.79 −41 08.85 SQ4
81 Lac Cae Caelum  124.865  38.036 0.30% 04 42.27 −37 52.90 SQ1
82 Lac Ret Reticulum  113.936  34.707 0.28% 03 55.27 −59 59.85 SQ1
83 Her TrA Triangulum Australe  109.978  33.501 0.27% 16 04.95 −65 23.28 SQ3
84 Her Sct Scutum  109.114  33.238 0.26% 18 40.39 −09 53.32 SQ4
85 Lac Cir Circinus   93.353  28.437 0.23% 14 34.54 −63 01.82 SQ3
86 Her Sge Sagitta   79.932  24.349 0.19% 19 39.05 +18 51.68 NQ4
87 Wat Equ Equuleus   71.641  21.823 0.17% 21 11.26 +07 45.49 NQ4
88 Her Cru Crux   68.447  20.850 0.17% 12 26.99 −60 11.19 SQ3
Notes
  1. ^ 'Family' abbreviations correspond to Constellation Family Abbreviations: Per=Perseus, Urs=Ursa Major, Her=Hercules, Zod=Zodiacal, Ori=Orion, Wat=Heavenly waters, Bay=J. Bayer, Lac=La Caille (see List of constellations).
  2. ^ The total solid angle of all constellations is the total solid angle of the sky, which is exactly 4π steradians, or 4π × (180/π)2 = 129,600/π square degrees, or approximately 41,252.961 square degrees. The figures in the table do not sum precisely to this number due to rounding errors, which vanish when the areas are rounded instead to one decimal place.
  3. ^ Right ascension and declination of the midpoints of the constellations.
  4. ^ "Quad" designates the quadrant of the sky as N for North or S for South, Quadrant 1 through 4.
  5. ^ Serpens is divided into two parts:
    Serpens Caput ("Serpent's Head"; 428.484 sq. deg.; midpoint: RA: 15 46.49, Dec: +10 58.20), and
    Serpens Cauda ("Serpent's Tail"; 208.444 sq. deg.; midpoint: RA: 18 07.60, Dec: -04 51.73)

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