Planetarium

"Do the constellations look the same from other planets?"

- E.S.

Great question!

The simple answer is "yes," but instead of just moving on, we'll offer an explanation. Constellations consist of stars that are many light years away. A light year, defined as the distance light travels through a vacuum in one year, is about 5.8 trillion miles. The closest star outside our solar system, Proxima Centauri, is about 4.2 light years away. Even the prominent stars can be hundreds or, in some cases, a few thousand light years away. Comparatively, the planets - even Neptune and Pluto - are quite close to us. So, one doesn't truly draw much closer to another star by traveling to another planet. It would be tantamount to walking to the southern part of your house in a desperate attempt to be closer to the Tropic of Cancer. While you are technically closer to the Tropic, your distance is essentially the same.

If you ever are able to watch the night sky from Mars, the constellation patterns will appear the same. Orion is the same for Martians as it is for Earthlings. The one difference, however, would be the sky's orientation because Polaris is not pole star in Mars' northern hemisphere. For more information on this issue, please refer to:  "Is Polaris the north star for all the other planets just like it is for Earth?"