The Sagittarius Constellation
Hunting Scorpius

The Sagittarius constellation represents the centaur archer hunting the giant scorpion Scorpius. It's possible that the archer is out to avenge the death of the great hunter Orion.

The archer's arrow points at the heart of Scorpius, the star Antares, as Sagittarius follows the scorpion across the southern sky.

Centaurs are mythological half-human half-horse beast. They had a tendency to be wild and untamed. Loving to get intoxicated and engage in fierce battles.

There were at least two exceptions... Chiron and Pholus. Both are rumored to be cultured and civilized. More human than beast.

Chiron was an immortal being fathered by Kronos(Saturn), the father of Zeus. He was accidentally poisoned by an arrow shot by Hercules during an attack by the centaurs as Hercules visited with Pholus.

The arrow had been dipped in the venomous blood of the Hydra. Chiron not being able to die, renounced his immortality to relieve the terrible pain. He was them placed amongst the stars.

Pholus was also killed at this time handling an arrow used on another centaur and accidentally cutting himself.

He too was placed in the stars.

There are two centaurs in the constellations, one is Sagittarius the other is Centaurus. The ancient myths aren't clear which constellation represents which centaur.

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There is more to this constellation than outlined above, however the key is the "teapot" asterism. The tip of the spout is the endpoint of the arrow. The cloud of steam is looking toward the galactic center.

Right Ascension: 1 hour

Declination: -25 degrees

Visible between latitudes +55 and -90 degrees

Best seen in August at 9:00 PM local time

Named Stars:Rukbat(Alpha Sagittarii) Arkab Prior(Beta1 Sagittarii) Arkab Posterior(Beta2 Sagittarii) Nash(Gamma Sagittarii) Kaus Meridionalis(Delta Sagittarri) Kaus Australis(Epsilon Sagittarii) Ascella(Zeta Sagittarii) Kaus Borealis(Lambda Sagittarii)

The brightest star is Epsilon Sagitarii Kaus Australis.

The center of the galaxy lies in the direction of Sagittarius. Consequently, Sagittarius contains many star clusters and nebulae.

So break-out the binoculars.

One of the brightest of the star clusters is M55.

Many nebulae are visible in this constellation including:

M8 the Lagoon nebula, M17 the Horse-head nebula(also known as the Omega or Swan nebula), and M20 the Trifid nebula. A large nebula containing some very young, hot stars.

The grouping of the Lagoon Nebula, the Trifid Nebula, and NGC6559 is often called the Sagittarius triplet.


The Sagittarius constellation in bounded by Ophiuchus to the west and on the east by Capricornus the seagoat.

Surrounded by Aquila, Scutum, Serpens Cauda, Scorpius, Corona Austalis, Telescopium, Microscopium, and a corner of Indus.

Please note that the correct spelling is with 2 T's,

not  Sagitarius.

› Sagittarius
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