Tag Archives: Scorpius

Corona Australis (The southern crown)

Constellation Corona AustralisCorona Australis is a southern constellation that was cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains among the 88 modern constellations. This horseshoe-shaped constellation lies about as far south as, and adjacent to the crook of Scorpius’ tail, and just beneath the teapot asterism of Sagittarius. Because of its far southern location in the celestial sphere, it barely rises above the southern horizon before setting again. Corona Australis reaches its highest nightfall ascension in September.

This constellation provides the foreground stars for a portion of the Milky Way pointing in a direction near the center of our galaxy. The most notable object in this region is the Corona Australis Molecular Cloud, a large and dark molecular cloud with many embedded reflection nebulae. There are many other telescopically interesting objects in this constellation to include star-forming regions with proto-stars, galaxies, and variable stars.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona_Australis

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

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

Ara (The altar)

Constellatiion AraAra, the altar, is a southern constellation that is so far south as to never rise above the horizon for viewers at 40-degrees north latitude. It is included in this collection to complete the descriptions of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. For those traveling south, to say Florida or farther, look for Ara to reach its highest nightfall ascension in July. It is located just beneath the crook of Scorpius’ tail.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ara_(constellation)

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

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

Lupus (The wolf)

Constellation LupusLupus, the wolf, is one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union. It is a southern constellation that is so far south that it barely peeks above the horizon in June and July for viewers at 40-degree north locations. It is situated beneath the scales of Libra, and to the right of Scorpius. There are no Messier objects in Lupus, and the several NGC objects located there are difficult for northern observers because of the constellation’s low placement on the horizon.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupus_(constellation)

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

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

Sagittarius (The archer)

Constellation SagittariusSagittarius, the archer, is a zodiacal constellation that is rather easily found because of its distinctive teapot asterism. It is one of the 48 constellations cataloged by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. It is located on the ecliptic between Scorpius and Capricornus. It can also be found by starting at Altair (a Summer Triangle star) and tracing southward along Aquila’s long axis. As is situated on southern most point of the ecliptic, this constellation hangs low in the southern sky, reaching its highest nightfall ascension in August. The Sun’s arrival at the southernmost point of the ecliptic around December 21st marks Winter Solstice and the first day of Winter.

This constellation has the distinction of presenting the foreground stars in the direction of the dense center of the Milky Way galaxy, which is rich in Messier objects. As such, it is worth taking the time to scan this constellation with binoculars or a small telescope. Several well-known nebula can be found in Sagittarius to include the Lagoon Nebula (M8), the Horseshoe Nebula, the Omega Nebula (M17), the Trifid Nebula (M20), and the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud (M24). Other Messier objects include M18, M22, M23, M25, M28, M54, M55, M69, M70 and M75.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittarius_(constellation)

IAU Sagittarius chart, Sky & Telescope magazine, June 5, 2011.
IAU Sagittarius chart, 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

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