Viewing The Capricorn Constellation

The Capricorn constellation came about from the story of the god Pan.

In Greek mythology Pan was fleeing from an attack on the Gods by Typhon. Changing themselves into various animals to escape this attack, some approached the river Nile.

Pan was undecided what form to take to best escape and plunged into the river. Pan's lower submerged half became fish-like and he was able to swim to safety. His upper half above the waters of the river retained his goat-like appearance.

Although known as the sea-goat the name Capricornus is actually Latin for "horn of the goat."

The goat's broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty.

The Tropic of Capricorn marks the farthest south that the sun can appear directly overhead at its zenith.

This occurs during the December solstice. This is known as the winter solstice.

The northern equivalent is the Tropic of Cancer occurring during the summer solstice in June.

Due to precession the solstice occurs while the sun is in Sagittarius.

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The Sea-goat And Its Neighbors

Sagittarius constellation is west and Aquarius is east and north of Capricornus.

Aquila is on the northwest border, with Microscopium and Pisces Austrinus to the south.

Capricorn is one of the dimmest constellations only Cancer is dimmer.

Capricorn is also the smallest zodiac constellation, and has only one Messier object, globular cluster M30.

Brightest star is Delta Capricorni... Deneb Algedi

Right Ascension: 21 hours

Declination: -20 degrees

Visible between latitudes +60 and -90 degrees

Best seen in September at 9:00 PM local time

Named Stars: Prima Giedi(Alpha1 Capricorni) Secunda Giedi(Alpha2 Capricorni) Dabih(Beta Capricorni)

Nashira(Gamma Capricorni) Deneb Algedi(Delta Capricorni) Alshat(Nu Capricorni)

Alpha Capricorni is a multiple star system. Both stars are viewable with the naked eye.  Both components are also multiple stars. One has a single partner, the other has a companion star which is itself a binary star.

You will need optical aid to resolve these fainter stars.

Dabih or Beta Capricorni is a double distinguishable in binoculars.

Several galaxies and star clusters are contained within Capricornus.

The planet Neptune was discovered in Capricornus by Johann Galle near Deneb Algedi September 23, 1846.

› Capricornus
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