Don't say that all the constellations are great. Of course we have favorites: favorite political parties, favorite restaurants, favorite cars - and favorite constellations.
If you need help choosing, start the opposite way by first eliminating the losers. Of the 88 constellations, half can be crossed off from the get-go. Leo Minor: Whack! That one goes first. Sagitta the Arrow. Camelopardalis the Giraffe, which is circumpolar and therefore stares at you every clear night of your life - if you can even find the sonofagun.
How did these ever get started? Who could possibly have visualized a zoo animal in those random faint stars? In this particular case we actually know the answer. The villain was a Dutch theologian and cartographer named Petrus Plancius, and the crime happened 408 years ago. As in most historical novels, we'll have to fill in the details. Plancius, whom we can safely assume was an alcoholic, kept insisting that he saw a giraffe in the sky - until his friends decided to humor him: "Sure, there's a giraffe there; we can all see it: now go to bed." When word spread that a bunch of guys all observed the same mammal, no one wanted to be left outside the club.
Musca the Fly: There's another one. With all the cool creatures like hummingbirds, golden retrievers or even house cats that might have been immortalized in the heavens, who decided on a disease-carrying insect? This one may have originated way back in Babylonia; no one's quite sure. Small wonder that country vanished, only to be replaced in that same site by Shock and Awe. Must be the water.
Sextans, Equuleus, Sculptor, Mensa, Grus - the forgettable patterns are easy to spot because they're hard to spot: No bright stars. No recognizable shape. And these same criteria can be turned the other way to pick the sky's aces.
If we base our selection on how well a constellation resembles what it's supposed to, then only two could win first honors: Orion and Scorpius. Orion really does look like a hunter. Well, not necessarily a hunter; simply a person of some sort, someone who wears a belt - but it could just as easily have been a sumo wrestler or accountant. But hunter is good enough.
Scorpius really does resemble a scorpion; in southern places where its magnificent tail ascends high enough to be well-seen, it would probably take the trophy as most spectacular.
Or do we instead choose the constellation with the greatest concentrated brilliance? In that case the winner is the Southern Cross. And when it stands upright, it even points straight down to the South Pole. Very nice indeed.
Some might argue that the prize should go to the constellation with the heavens' most famous star. If so, the winner is either Ursa Minor (home to the North Star) or else Canis Major (Sirius, the brightest star). The latter's crammed with cultural lore, but its competitor Polaris guided slaves toward liberation: They'd follow the North Star. So the Little Dipper represented freedom - not a bad concept at all.
Then there are the zodiacal ones, which host the sun, moon and planets and have therefore topped every culture's "favorites" list throughout history. Of these, Gemini climbs highest up and is also the only one to blaze with two first-magnitude stars. But Sagittarius can't be ruled out, since the center of our galaxy, along with the nearest massive black hole, lies within its borders. The night's stars all revolve around that spot every 240 million years. Powerful stuff.
Virgo is where the sun sits at the Autumn Equinox, but more importantly, contains the most bright galaxies. It's the downtown hub, the Times Square, of this entire section of the universe. Even our own galaxy is just an outlying member of the Virgo cluster - an excellent reason to make Virgo top dog. Or how about Andromeda, for possessing the nearest and brightest spiral?
Anyway, you see the problem: too many categories. There are even more when one includes telescope targets. The problem is that the sky's wonders are too democratically sprinkled around. Maybe that's why, even in our superlative-loving culture, you rarely hear of "the best constellation." Only thing for sure: It's not Camelopardalis. I've met giraffes, and you, sir, are no giraffe.