Scorpius Constellation
scorpius constellation
Scorpius has many bright stars but is only briefly visible in the northern hemisphere.
  • Scorpius is a large and bright constellation which is mainly visible in the southern hemisphere.
  • In the Northern hemisphere the constellation can be seen in July and August.
  • In the Southern hemisphere Scorpius can be viewed from March to October.
  • In the Southern hemisphere Scorpius lies within the center of the Milky Way, appearing as a faint band stretching across the sky.
  • At the heart of Scorpius is Antares, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.
  • Antares along with many of the other bright stars in the constellation belongs to a group known as the Scorpius-Centaurus Association.
  • Stars in this association formed around the same time and from the same region of a dark nebula cloud.
  • Scorpius is Latin for scorpion.
  • The astrological sign 'Scorpio' is based on the constellation of Scorpius.
  • The constellation was known to the ancient Babylonians 3,000 years ago.

Scorpius Mythology

scorpius mythology
Scorpius represents a scorpion that was placed amongst the stars.
In Greek mythology Scorpius represents a scorpion that was sent into the heavens after being killed by the great hunter Orion. The scorpion was sent to destroy Orion by Gaia the Goddess of Earth after the great hunter grew arrogant of his powers.
Following the scorpion’s placement amongst the stars another myth grew involving Phaeton, the mortal son of the Sun God Helios. Each day Helios rode his sun chariot around the Earth bringing light and warmth to the world. One day Helios allowed Phaeton to drive the chariot with disastrous consequences. Phaeton drove the chariot too high which froze the Earth. As he rose higher in the sky he neared Scorpius, the creature reacted by raising its sting, noticing that the scorpion was about to attack Phaeton steered the chariot back towards Earth. Unfortunately he got too close and as a result set fire to the land, turning parts of the Earth into desert.

Main Stars in the Scorpius Constellation
scorpius 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.
Graffias
Graffias is actually a multiple star system consisting of six stars, the system is composed of two parts known as Beta1 and Beta2, each part consists of three stars although the entire system is collectively known as Beta Scorpii.
Dschubba
Also known as Delta Scorpii, Dschubba is a multiple star system consisting of three and possibly four stars, the primary star is a blue giant around 15 times more massive than the sun.
Alniyat
Also known as Sigma Scorpii, (Alniyat is also the traditional name given to Tau Scorpii, the star directly below Antares in the image above), Alniyat is a four star system around 700 light years from Earth, the primary star is a blue giant around 13 times larger in diameter than the sun.
Antares
Also known as Alpha Scorpii, Antares is a two star system 550 light years from Earth, it is the brightest star in the constellation and one of the brightest stars in the night sky, the primary star is a red supergiant 850 times larger in diameter than the sun.
Sargas
Also known as Theta Scorpii, Sargas is a white giant 300 light years from Earth with a radius around 25 times larger than the sun.
Lesath
Also known as Upsilon Scorpii, Lesath is a blue subgiant around 600 light years from Earth with surface temperatures around 4 times hotter than the sun.
Shaula
Also known as Lambda Scorpii, Shaula is a three star system around 700 light years from Earth and the second brightest star in the constellation, due to its proximity to Lesath in the night sky the bright pair have earned the nickname "Cat's Eyes".

Finding Scorpius - Northern Hemisphere
finding scorpius northern hemisphere
The chart shows the position of Scorpius over most of the United States in July at 10pm. This chart can also be applied to other areas of the Northern hemisphere such as Canada, the UK and Europe.

In order to view Scorpius you will need a clear view of the southern horizon. In July and August the constellation will be visible low in the southern night sky between the hours of 10pm and midnight.

Finding Scorpius - Southern Hemisphere
finding taurus scorpius hemisphere
The chart shows the position of Scorpius over most of Australia in August at 7pm. This chart can also be applied to other areas of the Southern hemisphere such as New Zealand, South Africa and South America.

In March and April Scorpius will appear in the south-eastern sky around 11pm, heading higher in the sky over the next few hours until reaching overhead by around 4am.

In May and June the constellation will be visible in the south-eastern sky at around 7pm, reaching overhead by around midnight before it starts heading down towards the south-western horizon.
In July and August it will appear high in the eastern sky at around 7pm, reaching overhead in the next couple of hours before disappearing below the south-western horizon by around 2am.

In September and October Scorpius will appear high in the western night sky at around 8pm, dipping below the south-western horizon over the next few hours.


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