Tag Archives: Ophiuchus

Serpens (The serpent)

Serpens Caput, Corona Borealis Sagittarius, Scutum, SerpensSerpens is unique among modern constellations in that it is separated into two parts. Serpens Caput, the head, begins near Corona Borealis, and descends southward until it connects to Ophiuchus (the serpent bearer). Serpens Cauda, the tail, begins on the other side of Ophiuchus and ascends north and eastward, terminating near Aquila. Serpens is often depicted as passing behind Ophiuchus and emerging from the other side. Since Serpens is a lengthy constellation that extends primarily in an east-west direction, it reaches its highest nightfall ascension beginning in June with the head and ending with the tail in August. The entire constellation is situated for best nightfall viewing in July.

Serpens Cauda extends into the Milky Way, so there are several deep sky objects in that section. Two of these are Messier objects, M5, and M16 (the Eagle Nebula, which includes the Pillars of Creation and its associated star cluster). Hoag’s Object is a face-on example of a very rare class of galaxies known as ring galaxy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpens

IAU Serpens Caput chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnert and Rick Fienbert), March 21, 2012.
IAU Serpens Caput chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienbert), March 21, 2012.
IAU Serpens Cauda chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnertt and Rick Fienberg), March 21, 2012.
IAU Serpens Cauda chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), March 21, 2012.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Scutum (The shield)

Scutum, SagittariusOriginally named Scutum Sobiescianum (Shield of Sobieski) to commemorate the victory of Christian forces led by Polish King John III Sobieski in the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the name was later shortened to Scutum. This is a small, dim constellation located between the tail of Aquila, above the head of Sagittarius, and to the left of Ophiuchus. Scutum reaches its highest nightfall ascension in August. It contains two Messier star clusters, M11 (the Wild Duck Cluster), and M26 (NGC 6694).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scutum

609px-Scutum_IAU.svg
IAU Scutum chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

 

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Scorpius (The scorpion)

Constellation ScorpiusScorpius is perhaps the most beautiful of the zodiacal constellations. This southern constellation is located on the ecliptic between Libra and Sagittarius and is situated south of Ophiuchus. Antares (Alpha Scorpii), the reddish 1st magnitude star might first catch the observers attention. Then look for the remainder of the constellation which includes a distinct head, long slender body, curling tail, and stinger of a scorpion. Even though Sagittarius is on the lowest point of the ecliptic, Scorpius is the southernmost of the zodiacal constellations, which tends to leave the tail hanging below the treeline for us northern latitude observers. Southbound travelers in July, which is when Scorpius reaches its highest nightfall ascension, should make it a point to observe this very pretty constellation.

Scorpius’ location on the Milky way makes it home for many deep sky objects, such as the Butterfly Cluster (M6) and the Ptolemy Cluster (M7). Other objects cataloged by Charles Messier include globular clusters M4 and M80.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpius

IAU Scorpius chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine, 5 June 2011.
IAU Scorpius chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), 5 June 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Aquila (The eagle)

Scutum, Aquila, CapricornusAquila is a  fairly easily recognized constellation of medium to bright stars that is one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. It is a pretty constellation that easily evokes an image of a soaring eagle. Lying south of Cygnus, and flanked by Pegasus to the east and Ophiuchus to the west, Aquila reaches its highest nightfall ascension in September.

The most notable star in Aquila is Altair (Alpha Aquilae), its brightest star and a member of the Summer Triangle. Aquila lies in the same direction as the Milky Way, so several  gaseous nebula can be found in this constellation. The most famous of these are the Owl Nebula (NGC6781) and the Glowing Eye nebula (NGC6751),
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquila_(constellation)

IAU Aquila chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.
IAU Aquila chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Ophiuchus (serpent bearer)

Constellation OphiuchusOphiuchus is located south of Hercules on the celestial equator. It is flanked by Virgo and Aquila and reaches its highest nightfall ascension in July. This is one of the largest constellations in the sky, but it will require a little work to locate its stars, because they are rather dim and widely scattered. Ophiuchus is home to several Messier Objects: M9, M10, M12, M14, M19, and M62. It is also home to Barnard’s Star (see Finding Barnard’s Star), a very close and very interesting stellar neighbor.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophiuchus

IAU Ophiuchus chart, Sky  Telescope magazine Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Ophiuchus chart, Sky Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Libra (The scales)

Constellation LibraLibra, the scales, is a small zodiacal constellation of  rather dim stars that was cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. It is located on the ecliptic between Virgo and Scorpius, and is to the south of Ophiuchus. This southern constellation, which never rises very far above the horizon, reaches its highest nightfall ascension in June. Its brightest star, Zubenelgenubi, is just brighter then 3rd magnitude, which can be a challenge to see in some light-polluted urban skies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libra_(constellation)

IAU Libra chart, Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Libra chart, Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Hercules (A Roman mythological hero)

HerculesHercules is one of the 88 modern constellations that are among the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. It is named after the Roman mythological hero adapted from the Greek hero Heracles. It is a northern constellation that lies just off of the Summer Triangle, and near Ophiuchus. Hercules reaches its highest nightfall ascension in July. A squarish asterism called the Keystone is likely to catch the eye first when looking in this area. Older visualizations of this constellation depict the Keystone as Hercules’ hips, while some more modern visualizations depict the Keystone as Hercules’ head.

One of the most notable Messier objects, the Hercules Cluster (M13), is a bright globular star cluster that can be seen with the naked eye in dark skies. It is located between the two stars comprising the Keystone’s western edge. M92 is the only other Messier object in this constellation.  The largest and most massive known structure in the universe, The Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall, is a filament of galaxies that is situated on Hercules’ border with Corona Borealis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_(constellation)

IAU Hercules chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Hercules chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net