SNPA Strapline

Seeing Stars

Trawsfynydd (© Keith O'Brien)

alt=Ty Cipar Llyn Conwy (© Keith O'Brien)


The Welsh language is full of names for the stars, constellations and galaxies. Here are some names that we have come across - do you know of more? The Welsh words are followed by a literal translation


Milky Way - There are several names for the Milky Wy in Welsh:
Y Llwybr Llaethog - The Milky Way
Bwa’r Gwynt - Arc of the Wind
Heol Y Gwynt - Wind’s Road
Llwybr Y Gwynt - The Wind’s Trail
Y Ffordd Laethog - The Milky Road
Ffordd Wen - White Road
Y Ffordd Laethwen - The Milkywhite Road
Caer Gwydion - Gwydion’s Fort. Gwydion was a wizard and is one of the main characters in the Four Branches of the Mabinogi – Welsh tales compiled from oral tradition in the 11th century
Sarn Badrig - Padrig’s Causeway. Sarn Badrig is the name on the shingle reef running for 20km under the sea from Shell Island parallel to the Llyn Peninsula. According to legend, Sarn Badrig was also the name of one of the dykes which protected Cantre’r Gwaelod (the Welsh antlantis and the sunken kingdom which is located between Bardsey Island and Ramsey Island in what is now Cardigan Bay.)


Corona Borealis - Caer Arianrhod - Arianrhod’s Fort. Arianrhod appears as a character in the fourth branch of the Mabinogi. She’s the daughter of Dôn, sister to Gwydion and the mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes. . Caer Arianrhod is also the name of a piece of land not far from Llandwrog where low rocks and shallow water can be found.

Cassiopeia -
Llys Dôn - Dôn is the Welsh name of the Celtic goddess Danu. The name appears in the fourth branch of the Mabinogi as the mother of Gwydion, Gilfaethwy and Arianrhod. Her brother was Math fab Mathonwy.
Cadair Y Foneddiges - Lady’s Chair

The Plough The Great Bear (Ursa Major) -
Yr Aradr - The Plough
Yr Haeddel Fawr - Haeddel is another name in Welsh for the plough’s handle.
Y Sosban - The Saucepan
Y Llong Foel - The Bald Ship
Llun Y Llong - Ship’s picture
Yr Arth Fawr - The Great Bear
Jac A’i Wagen - Jack and his Wagon
Saith Seren Y Gogledd - Seven Stars of the North
Sêr Llong - Ship stars

Capricornus - Yr Afr - The Goat

Pleiades - Pleiades

Star Clusters

Y Saith Seren Siriol - The Seven Cheerful Stars

Y Tŵr Tewdws - The Tewdws Tower
Y Saith Chwaer - The Seven Sisters
Maes Y Teiliwr - The Tailor’s Field
Y Sosban Fach - The Little saucepan

Taurus - Y Tarw - The Bull

Orion - Orïon - The Dog (Star)

Sirius - Siriws
(Seren) Y Ci - The Dog Star
Seren Y Gweithiwr - The Worker’s Star
Seren Y Gan - The Song’s Star

Leo - Y Llew - The lion

Gemini - Yr Efeilliaid - The Twins

Cygnus - Yr Alarch - The Swan

Pegasus - Pegasws

Ursa Minor -
Sosban Fach - Small saucepan
Arth Fach - Little Bear
Arthen - Little Bear


Polaris - Seren Y Pegwn - (The Pole Star

North Star -
Seren Y Gogledd - The North Star
Seren Y Morwyr - The Sailors’ Star
Rhonell y Ci - Crested dog’s tail – a type of grass that can grow anywhere


Orion’s Belt -
Llathen Fair - Mary’s Yard
Y Groes Fendigaid - Blessed Cross
Y Tri Brenin - The Three Kings
Llathen Teiliwr - Tailor’s Yard
Y Tair Carreg Filltir - The Three Milestones