Sagittarius Constellation
sagittarius constellation
Sagittarius has several bright stars making it easily visible in the night sky.
Sagittarius Constellation Facts
  • Sagittarius is a relatively large constellation which is mainly visible in the southern hemisphere.
  • In the Northern hemisphere the constellation can be viewed low on the horizon from August to October.
  • In the Southern hemisphere Sagittarius can be viewed from June to November.
  • The constellation of Sagittarius is often depicted as a teapot shaped asterism in star maps.
  • Sagittarius lies near the galactic center of the Milky Way.
  • The massive star forming region known as the Omega Nebula is situated within the boundaries of the constellation.
  • It is thought that the super massive black hole that exists in the center of our galaxy is located within the Sagittarius constellation.
  • One of the most luminous stars in our galaxy exists within the constellation, unfortunately it is not visible due to it being shrouded by cosmic dust.
  • Sagittarius is the Latin word for archer and is also one of the twelve signs of the astrological zodiac.

Sagittarius Mythology

sagittarius mythology
Sagittarius represents a Centaur, a half man half horse creature from Greek mythology.
Centaurs are half man half horse creatures that originated from Babylonian mythology and were later adopted by ancient Greek culture. The centaurs were considered as an entire race of beings who inhabited certain areas of the ancient world, they were considered as rather debauched and violent individuals who were generally best avoided.
The mythology behind Sagittarius is extremely complicated and uncertain, indeed some argue that the constellation doesn’t represent a centaur at all but a creature that is actually half man half goat. It has been suggested that the archer which represents the human half of Sagittarius is Chiron, who unlike the other centaurs was cultured and kind hearted. This has been disputed as Chiron is associated with the constellation of Centaurus. Whichever he may be one thing is undisputed, his arrow is pointed at the heart of the constellation of Scorpius, which is represented by the bright red star Antares.

Main Stars in the Sagittarius Constellation
sagittarius constellation
The number next to each star is its apparent magnitude, its brightness from our point of view on Earth, the lower the number the brighter the star in the night sky.
Arkab
Also known as Beta Sagittarii or Arkab Prior, Arkab is a two star system around 378 light years from Earth, it appears very close in the sky to another star, as a result both are known as Beta Sagittarri.
Rukbat
Also known as Alpha Sagittarii, Rukbat is a blue main sequence star with surface temperatures more than twice that of the sun, it is around 180 light years from Earth.
Ascella
Also known as Zeta Sagittarii, Ascella is a binary star system around 90 light years from Earth, both stars are white giants orbiting each other every 21 years.
Kaus Australis
Also known as Epsilon Sagittarii, Kaus Australis is a binary star system around 140 light years from Earth and the brightest component in the constellation, the primary star is a blue giant around 7 times larger in radius than the sun.
Kaus Borealis
Also known as Lambda Sagittarii, Kaus Borealis is an orange sub-giant star around 80 light years from Earth, the star is around 11 times larger in radius than the sun.
Nash
Also known as Gamma Sagittarii, Nash is an orange giant star around 100 light years from Earth, the star is around 12 times larger in radius than the sun.

Finding Sagittarius - Northern Hemisphere
finding sagittarius northern hemisphere
The chart shows the position of Sagittarius over most of the United States in September at 9pm. This chart can also be applied to other areas of the Northern hemisphere such as Canada, the UK and Europe.

In order to view Sagittarius you will need a clear view of the southern horizon. In August the constellation will be visible low in the southern night sky between the hours of 10pm and 2am, in September between the hours of 9pm and midnight and in October Sagittarius will be visible briefly between the hours of 8pm and 10pm.

Finding Sagittarius - Southern Hemisphere
finding sagittarius southern hemisphere
The chart shows the position of Sagittarius over most of Australia in August at 10pm. This chart can also be applied to other areas of the Southern hemisphere such as New Zealand, South Africa and South America.

In June and July Sagittarius will appear in the south-eastern sky around 9pm, reaching overhead by around 1am before heading towards the south-western horizon by 6am.

In August and September the constellation will be visible in the south-eastern or eastern sky at around 8pm, reaching overhead by around 10pm before it starts heading down towards the south-western horizon.
In October and November it will appear high in the western sky at around 10pm, before disappearing below the south-western horizon by around 1am.


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