Star Names Word Search

When you look at the stars, most people recognize there are a lot of them. The most common means of distinguishing one star from another is to name them. This star names word search is a great way to familiarize yourself with the names of thirty of the brightest stars in the night sky.

Star Names Word Search

Find the star names vertically, horizontally, and diagonally as well as forward and backward on this 8 1/2″ x 11″ puzzle. For best results, use the PDF from the link below.

Download links: [Word search Image] | [Word search PDF]

If you need a hint or thirty, use the following links to view the completed version of the star names word search.

Download links: [Solution Image] | [Solution PDF]

Word searches are a fun activity. Check out our other science-related word search puzzles.

Where Do The Stars Get Their Names?

Have you ever wondered where these star names come from? They are an interesting mix of Greek, Latin, and Arabic names that were popularized by one Greek Egyptian astronomer named Claudius Ptolemy (100 AD – 170 AD).

Ptolemy’s main contribution to science was the publication of the Almagest. This collection of books covered subjects like spherical trigonometry, daily motion of stellar objects, eclipse schedules, and the motions of the stars. Every astronomer for the next thousand years very likely possessed a translation of the Almagest and Ptolemy’s names for the stars became accepted standards.

Another accepted naming scheme for stars is to name them after the constellation they are a part of and their relative brightness to other stars of the constellation. For example: Betelgeuse is the brightest star in the constellation of Orion. It’s modern designation is “Alpha Orionis”. The next brightest star in Orion is Rigel and designated “Beta Orionis” followed by “Gamma Orionis” for the third brightest Bellatrix.

These designations are easier to remember and ultimately find in the night sky but lack the romance of the older names. If you like the constellation/brightness designation system, make sure you familiarize yourself with constellation names and check out the Constellation Word Search.