Although they vary widely by time and place, constellations have often played a significant role in many cultures, serving as navigational aids and as visual representations of myths and historical events. Therefore, an easy way to distinguish a Constructed World or fictional culture from a Real Life one is to give them different constellations, as well as tie those constellations back to some aspect of that world or culture.
Stellification is when a character becomes a star or constellation. See also Fictional Zodiac, when the constellations serve as birthsigns. Often runs in tandem with Alien Sky on worlds other than Earth, especially if someone from Earth is present to remark on the differences.
- Pokémon: The Series:
- In the Original Series episode "A Friend In Deed", Ash and Ritchie are tracking Team Rocket (up to their usual hijinks) and decide to pitch camp for the night. Looking up at the stars, they trace lines between them to form images of specific Pokémon.
- Pokémon: Jirachi: Wish Maker: The film's closing credits rolls across a number of real-world constellations with Pokémon reskins. The very last constellation appears as a single, shiny star that dissolves into one of the dots on Pikachu's cheeks.
- In Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure, Hikaru draws her own constellation that turns into the mascot Fuwa.
- Triptych Continuum: The focus of Twilight Sparkle Vs. The Equestrian Cutie Mark Constellation Registry, where Twilight ends up in conflict with an agency that makes constellations out of pony's Cutie Marks. The Barding of the Ancients, a band of constellations representing Celestia and Luna's dead comrades are also brought up.
- Moana: An arrangement of stars shaped like Maui's fish hook is said to mark where he fell into the sea, after being attacked by the lava demon Te Ka.
- Shrek tells Donkey the names the ogres give to several constellations.
Donkey: So, uh...are there any donkeys up there?Shrek: Well, there's, um...Gabby, the small, and annoying.Donkey: Okay, okay. I see it, I see it now, yeah. The big shiny one, right there. Right? That-That one there?Shrek: ...That's the moon.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Discussed when Clementine and Joel have their (apparently) first date on a frozen lake at night. Clem asks Joel to point out constellations though he doesn't know any, so he makes one up off the top of his head: Osidious The Emphatic ("Right over there, kind of a swoop and a cross.")
- The Balanced Sword is set on the world Zarathan, which has its own constellations. The titular Balanced Sword, symbol of the god Myrionar, has a constellation named after it, which gets mentioned several times.
- The Chronicles of Narnia:
- The pole star of Narnia is known as the Spear Head, the brightest object in the northern sky.
- In Prince Caspian, Lucy observes the Narnian sky and notices three constellations; the Ship, the Hammer, and the Leopard.
- In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as the titular ship travels further and further east, new constellations are seen that neither the Pevensies nor the native Narnians have ever glimpsed.
- The Cosmere has a variety of different constellations; a map of them can be seen here◊. Of particular note is the Scar, which is visible from multiple planets and known by different names on each of them.
- Discworld has its own constellations, some of which change noticeably as the Turtle goes past them. They're usually used for the Fictional Zodiac, but in The Last Continent they're used as a sign the wizards have travelled back in time, and to estimate how far.
Chair of Indefinite Studies: We've counted three thousand, one hundred and ninety-one constellations that could be called the Triangle, for example, but the Dean says some of them don't count because they use the same stars?
- In the Earthsea series novel A Wizard of Earthsea. Wizards know that the land of the dead has constellations which do not match those of the living world. Their names include the Sheaf, the Tree, the Door and the One Who Turns.
- In the Dragonlance setting, the gods each have their own constellation in the night sky - Paladine's is a platinum dragon, Reorx's is a hammer, and Takhisis's is a multiheaded dragon, for example. When a god is active on Krynn, their constellation vanishes from the sky. In the Bad Future where Raistlin defeated the gods to take a place among them, his new constellation (an hourglass) was dominant in the sky, pushing the constellations of the remaining gods aside.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Westeros has different constellations. The Ice Dragon's blue eye is the setting's North Star, and at one point Jon and Ygritte talk about the different names the constellations have in their cultures.
- Canines in Survivor Dogs have their own constellations: the Rabbit, the Wolf and her cub, the Great Tree, and the Running Squirrel.
- Mentioned in the "Heinlein Juvenile" novel Starman Jones, in which a starship is lost in space due to a navigational error. They don't actually navigate by them, but seeing familiar constellations (that is, familiarly alien) lets the crew know they're in a known star system.
The stars seemed to crawl together, then instantly they were gone to be replaced without any lapse of time whatever by another, new and totally different starry universe.Hendrix straightened up and sighed, then looked up. "There's the Albert Memorial," he said quietly. "And there is the Hexagon. Well, Captain, it seems we made it again."
- The Star Trek Novelverse mentions many alien constellations, like the Bajoran constellation the Five Brothers (only four are visible, the relevant myth being that the fifth, wisest brother is avoiding being seen), the Romulan constellation Dhael the Raptor, and the Cardassian constellation the Flower of Knowledge.
- Often subverted in Tolkien's Legendarium, as the names of constellations are fictional, but the constellations of Arda themselves are implied to be more or less identical with our real world constellations. For example, hobbits of The Shire refer to the Big Dipper as "The Sickle".
- In the Tortall Universe, constellations are either depictions of existing gods, or become gods in their own right. Alanna's magic black cat is the Cat constellation come to life to be her spirit guide.
- H. Beam Piper's Uller Uprising mentions a constellation called "Finnegan's Goat", visible in the sky of Uller (a planet orbiting the star Beta Hydrae).
- Villains by Necessity: It's a plot point that the fictional constellation which is variously called by the names the Scarf in Bariga/the Six Lands, Moonblood to Nathauans, Fors Mor (the Great Waterfall) by the old druids and Selkin's Tail by the centaurs gets overlooked as a clue to Ki'kartha's Test. In Ki'kartha's culture, it symbolized her goddess Mula of Healing and Fresh Water, dubbed the Water-Giver because of this. It's described as a shining band of stars and possibly loosely based on the real Milky Way.
- In The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Artie (the strongest man...in the wooooorld!) has his own unofficial constellation.
- Beastmaster: After one of her unicorns is killed by an ambitious and corrupt royal advisor, The Sorceress takes the remaining two and places them in the sky as a constellation (later removed by her mentor The Ancient One as punishment for her inappropriate behavior).
- Doctor Who: Gallifrey is in the "constellation of Kasterborous". Exactly what this means is open to debate, given a constellation only exists from a certain frame of reference, and we're never given one. The Doctor Who Expanded Universe has come up with a number of theories, including that Time Lords define "constellations" four-dimensionally, which somehow means it's possible for Gallifrey's system to be in one from its own perspective; that it's a constellation in Earth's sky, but in the distant future; and that the Doctor meant to say "star system" but got confused. The same issues apply to other constellations the Doctor has used as reference points, including Scythia (location of Ribos, "The Ribos Operation"), Cetus (location of Varos, "Vengeance on Varos") and Canthares (location of the Canthares supernova, "Image of the Fendahl").
- Gekisou Sentai Carranger: Parodied (like pretty much everything else); the five members of Pegasus Garage get their power from constellations based on cars, because this show is gloriously stupid and likes being that way.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: The episode "Hercules" deconstructs the whole constellations-as-a-motif when Crow complains he doesn't see the figures of ancient legend in the night sky. Servo attempts to update the constellations to reflect "modern sensibilities", creating elaborate constructs such as "The Ham Sandwich", "The New Christy Minstrels" and, out of a mere eleven stars, "Picasso's Guernica." Frustrated, Crow comes back with a "modern" constellation of his own, consisting of two stars:
Crow: (sarcastic) It's a pencil. The eraser's almost gone.
- Room 101: Played for laughs in an episode when Esther Rantzen expresses a dislike for astrology, Paul Merton shows the audience the stars that make up Capricorn, then says "No way are those stars showing a goat to me, if you can do that, you can take another part of the sky and do this to it", then shows another group of stars linked together to form a TV set, a chair and a lamp.
- The Orville: One episode features an alien civilization entirely governed by astrology. One of the stars in one of their constellations died millennia ago making the sign (and every born under it) an ill omen.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the episode "Second Sight" Sisko points out that the Bajorans call a particular constellation "The Runners. I can never figure out if they're running toward something or away from something."
- Frank Zappa's album One Size Fits All has a parody of the constellations on the backside of the album cover. All the constellations are puns, intellectual references, references to the London subway system and inside jokes about Zappa's music and/or entourage.
- The Far Side: One strip has a character pointing out the constellation known as "The Big Dip", which is the profile of a dorky-looking man.
- The Star Gazer playfield is decorated with simplified constellations of the Western Zodiac, as well as various fictional signs such as a beaver, a swan, and a pegasus.
- Exalted: The Sidereal Exalted are organized along the lines of the planets and stars. Their domains, one for of each of the Five Maidens, are composed of five constellations each, for a total of twenty-five different constellations in the Exalted night sky.
- Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: the sourcebook Tasha's Cauldron of Everything describes three constellations, The Archer, The Chalice and The Dragon, and the ways a druid who joins the Circle of Stars can draw power from each of them.
- As in Dragonlance, the major gods in Forgotten Realms have their own constellations. In The Avatar Trilogy a constellation based on the new Mystra's holy symbol (a circle of seven stars with a red mist in the middle) appears when she ascends to godhood.
- The Empire in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay distinguishes constellations such as the Big Cross and the Piper. Crosses over with Fictional Zodiac since many assign influence on these constellations based on the day of birth.
- Animal Crossing: Wild World allows the player to create and name their own constellations. At nighttime they're visible in the sky.
- Constellations in the Dragon Age universe are partially based on the religious leanings of ancient Tevinter, which at one time ruled the majority of the continent. They don't really become apparent to the player until Dragon Age: Inquisition, which utilizes them in a series of in-universe puzzles which lead the heroes to hidden treasure caches.
- In The Elder Scrolls, the thirteen Fictional Zodiac signs are based on constellations in their Alien Sky, twelve to represent each month and one that appears randomly. Each sign grants its own powers, and in different ways, depending on the game.
- Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward introduced Astrologian, a healing Job that taps into The Power of the Sun, Lunacy and most importantly Star Power, for their magic. They gain their power by attuning their aether to that of six constellations: The Balance, The Bole, The Spire, The Ewer, The Arrow and the Spear, using Cards of Power (which references Tarot cards and their own use of zodiacal iconography). The six constellations are said to depict the six heavens, the homes of the Twelve.
- In Genshin Impact, there's a constellation system. Each character has an unique fictional constellation that can be expanded by using a character-exclusive star powder that can be obtained by getting the character that you already have in the gacha.
- In Grim Dawn, the world of Cairn has its own constellation of stars. To the PC, restoring devotion shrines grant you the power of the stars in the form of passive bonuses. Some power stars can be bound to your active skills and proc under certain conditions.
- Kingdom of Loathing features an area called "The Hole in the Sky". All of the monsters within are constellations that are also Double Entendres for male or female genitalia, such as "The Burrowing Bishop," "The Trouser Snake," or "The Little Man in the Canoe". Except for "The Astronomer", because the astronomers of the Days of Old were fond of not only childish visual puns, but of Shameless Self-Promotion.
- In the lore of League of Legends constellations are a significant cultural aspect on Mount Targon, as the constellations are each a symbol of the Aspects.
- Mario Party:
- At the end of Mario Party 4's story mode, a cutscene shows the character who was played as receiving a constellation in their likeness. It can then be viewed in the Present Room above that character's presents.
- Drawing constellations is the objective of the Island Tour mini-game "Starring Artist".
- In Myst, the player must make use of constellations in the night sky of Myst Island to solve a puzzle.
- In the backstory of Nexus War games, the four-pointed symbol of the Nexal death god Hashaa is said to be one of the few constellations visible in the plane of Purgatorio. It's fitting since Hashaa's symbol represents the application of entropy and decay to all things, while Purgatorio is a cosmic-scale junkyard filled with faded, crumbling mementos of past worlds.
- Night in the Woods:
- During Longest Night (equivalent to the real-life winter solstice), one pastime is to sit at a campfire and spot the thirteen constellations in the night sky. Gameplay in the supplemental game of the same name involves linking the stars. There's a "lost constellation" of which the Ghost Star is a part, featured in the second supplemental game, Lost Constellation.
- On certain days, Mae can find Mr. Chazokov on a roof to spot dusk stars, which are "wandering stars" only visible for a short period in spring and fall. Each dusk star has a name and character lore attached to it, such as Simone the Fighter and Castys.
- In order to summon each of the Celestial Brush Gods, Amaterasu must use her powers to complete the constellation associated with each brush god. There are fourteen in all, plus an enemy who is also summoned in a similar fashion.
- The sequel, Ōkamiden, adds another five constellations; in this case, the stars are already there, but they must be connected correctly to unlock the Brush God and their associated skill.
- There are various examples from the Pokémon franchise, all of them of the titular creatures.
- One level of Pokémon Snap has a constellation of Mewtwo as a secret.
- Other constellations seen in the Rainbow Cloud level include Kingler, Pinsir, Koffing, Cubone, and Dugtrio.
- Pokémon Channel has a camp the player can stargaze from, with multiple Pokemon constellations viewable. These constellations also showed up in the credits of Pokémon: Jirachi: Wish Maker.
- Pokémon Black and White introduced constellations based on the western zodiac; a couple of these appeared in the anime as well.
- In Touhou Project, it's explained that youkai have their own constellations, distinct from those known by humans. Of particular note is that they consider the Big Dipper to be a dragon. Not just a pattern of stars that resembles a dragon, or is based on some mythological dragon, but an actual living dragon made up of stars that lives in the sky and seeks to swallow the North Star.
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island: The boss fight against Raphael the Raven takes place on the moon. While up there, you can see the stars, and a group of them have lines connecting them to form a goonie. Upon defeating Raphael, he flies off and becomes a constellation of his own.
- RWBY: In the world of Remnant, the constellations are patterned and named after types of Grimm. Why the people named their constellations after soulless black monsters that feed on emotion and indiscriminately ravage the land is anyone's guess.
- In the Strong Bad Email "myths & legends", Strong Bad identifies a number of "Strong Badian" constellations: the snake seen on the Strong Badian flag, a man with a big knife, a hand giving the "OK" signal, a board with nails in it, a carton of General Tso's chicken, a fish wearing an afro wig, and a British distance runner. The latter two are said to have "combined forces to defeat the others... in paintball... or maybe Red Rover" and became the inspiration for the Bear Holding a Shark that protects Strong Badia's fence.
- Adventure Time: "The Mountain" introduces a pair of human-shaped constellations standing side-by-side, with the moment their hands touch colloquially known as the "Dap of the Heavens".
- Il était une fois...Space: the "constellation" of the Triton is actually a multiple star system formed by a red supergiant star orbited by a white dwarf and a red dwarf.
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: In the short "Starry Night", Flapjack wants that Knuckles tell him all the constellation while the captain is trying to sleep. In order to sleep peacefully, Knuckles shows Flapjack a constellation called Peaceful Pirate (which apparently is sentient) and tells the boy that the pirate is peaceful because Flapjack isn't there.
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: After the first season, Bow's tracker pad begins getting random signals in First Ones script that everyone believes is a degraded message, as Adora is only able to make out the gibberish word 'Serenia'. They later learn it's not a message, but coordinates to Mara's ship relying on the placement of the constellation Serenia, named after one of the First Ones' mythological heroes. The protagonists didn't know because both the stars and the First Ones disappeared thousands of years ago, though luckily Bow's dads had records of the constellations in their library.
- The Simpsons
- In one episode, Homer gets an orphan to be a "Bigger Brother" to, and the following exchange occurs.
Pepe: Tell me more! I want to know all the constellations.
Homer: Well, there's... Jerry the Cowboy. And that big dipper looking thing is Alan... the Cowboy.
- In "Bart's Comet" Principal Skinner points out some constellation to Bart: First is "The Chariot Race", which consists of a single star. Then "The Three Wise Men", which looks like an improbably detailed constellation of The Three Stooges.
- In one episode, Homer gets an orphan to be a "Bigger Brother" to, and the following exchange occurs.
- South Park: In "Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods", the constellations in Dr. Adams' planetarium include "The Big Dipper", "Taurus, the Bull", "Roger Ebert", and "The Crusades", each composed of less stars than the last, but with more and more complex drawings superimposed over them. "The Crusades" is only two stars.