Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 21:39:15 Posted by  Bobby

 Mythology of Sagittarius

Sagittarius is a constellation of the zodiac that lies between Scorpius and Capricornus. It depicts Crotus, the son of the Greek god Pan and the inventor of archery, aiming his bow at a scorpion, represented by the neighboring constellation Scorpius. The center of our galaxy lies in the same direction as Sagittarius, and binoculars show that the star fields in this part of the Milky Way are particularly dense. The Sun passes through Sagittarius from December the 18th to January the 19th, a period that includes the December( Winter) solstice. The constellations brightest star is Epsilon Sagittarii, magnitude 1.8.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Archer
  • Pronounced: sah-ji-TAIR-ee-us
  • Genitive: Sagittarii
  • Abbreviation: Sgr
  • Highest in the Sky: July to August
  • Size Ranking: 15th
  • Coverage Area: 867 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 19 hours
  • Declination: -25°
  • Visibility: 40°N to 90°S

 Notable Objects

  • M8: Lagoon Nebula
  • M17: Omega/Swan Nebula
  • M18: Open cluster
  • M20: Trifid Nebula
  • M22: Elliptical globular cluster
  • M23: Open cluster
  • M54: Globular cluster
  • M55: Globular cluster

 Named Stars

  • Rukbat, Alpha Sagittarii
  • Arkab Prior, Beta1 Sagittarii
  • Arkab Posterior, Beta2 Sagittarii
  • Alnasi, Gamma Sagittarii
  • Kaus Meridiani, Delta Sagittarii
  • Kaus Australis, Epsilon Sagittarii
  • Ascella, Zeta Sagittarii
  • Kaus Borealis, Lambda Sagittarii
  • Ain al Rami, Nu Sagittarii
  • Albahdah, Pi Sagittarii
  • Nunki, Sigma Sagittarii
  • Terebellum, Omega Sagittarii

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

The Teapot

 A group of eight stars: Gamma, Epsilon, Delta, Lambda, Phi, Zeta, Sigma, and Tau Sagittarii. Together, they form the outline of a teapot, with a pointed lid and a large spout. The stars Lambda, Phi, Zeta, Sigma, and Tau Sagittarii also form a shape known as the Milk Dipper, so named because it lies in a rich area of the Milky Way.

Beta Sagittarii

 A multiple star, although all the components lie at different distances and are unrelated. The naked eye shows it is a wide double with components of magnitudes 4.0 and 4.3. The brighter star, Beta-1, has a 7th-magnitude companion that can be seen through a small telescope.

M8 (The Lagoon Nebula)

 A bright nebula visible to the naked eye and a good target for binoculars. Elongated in shape, it is almost 3 times the apparent width of the full Moon. A dark lane of dust bisects it: one half contains the cluster NGC 6530 with stars of 7th magnitude and fainter, while the most prominent object in the other half is the 6th-magnitude star 9 Sagittarii. The nebula, and the stars within it, are 5,200 light-years away.

M17 (The Omega Nebula)

 A cloud of glowing gas of similar apparent size to the full Moon. It can be seen with binoculars, although a telescope is needed to see its true shape. A small telescope shows a star cluster, NGC 6618, within the cloud. The nebula and the cluster both lie about 4,900 light-years away.

M20 (The Trifid Nebula)

 A nebula with a faint double star at its center, both visible with a small telescope. Larger apertures and photographs show dust lanes trisecting the nebula.


 The third brightest globular cluster in the sky, 10,000 light-years away. It is just visible to the naked eye under good conditions and easy to find with binoculars, which show it is a rounded patch about two-thirds the apparent size of the full Moon. A telescope of moderate aperture resolves it brightest star.


 A rich open cluster, elongated in shape and almost the same apparent width as the full Moon. It can be seen with binoculars, while a small telescope resolves its stars. It lies 2,100 light-years away.


 A large and bright field of stars in the Milky Way, visible to the naked eye and an excellent sight through binoculars. A small telescope reveals a small open cluster. NGC 6603, within it.


 An open cluster just visible to the naked eye and a good object for observation with binoculars or a small telescope. Its stars, of 7th magnitude and fainter, are scattered over an area of the sky the same apparent size as the full Moon. It lies 2,000 light-years away.

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