Sagittarius Constellation, or in Latin SAGITTIPOTENS, is a constellation that lies mostly in the plane of the Milky Way. The Sagittarius Constellation is found right in the center of our Galaxy. There is a source of radio waves called by astronomers “Sagittarius A”. This is located between the Scorpion in the west and Capricorn in the east, represented as a centaur who stretches a bow. However, no one should expect to see a figure of half man and half horse.
These brighter stars form, in fact, an asterism which, due to its configuration, is called the Teapot. Do you want to see it in the sky of the northern hemisphere? The best time to observe the Sagittarius constellation is between June and September.
Sagittarius Major Stars
The brightest star in the Sagittarius constellation is ε Sagittarii (Epsilon). It’s a white-blue giant with magnitude 1.79, known as Kaus Australis, as it depicts the lower part of the arch in Sagittarius (kaus derives from the Arabic al-qaus, “the bow”, and australis is a Latin word meaning “southern”).
The second brightest star of this constellation is Sigma Sagittarii, called Nunki. This is an Assyrian or Babylonian name which in Mesopotomy meant “star of the proclamation of the sea”. This star is a powerful blue giant (magnitude 2.05). It’s also quite far away, which is why it is not very bright. Zeta Sagittarii, traditionally known as Axilla, from the Latin “ascella”, is the third brightest star of Sagittarius (2.6 of magnitude). This star is located under the left armpit of the archer.
Next, in order of magnitude, δ Sagittarii, or Kaus Media, and λ Sagittarii, or Kaus Borealis, two orange giants that represent the central part and the upper part of the bow in the centaur’s hands respectively. The sixth brightest star is Pi Sagittarii (magnitude 2.88), also known by the Arabic name Albaldah. The Gamma Sagittarii a yellow giant of magnitude 3 also known as Al Nasl, the “tip” in Arabic still remains another major star.
The β Sagittarii a double star made up of two whitish stars. This is known as Arkab, from the Arabic “archer’s tendon of Achilles”. Finally, Alfa Sagittarii, also called Rukbat, from the Arabic rukbat al-rami, “knee of the archer”. This star is far from being the brightest, having a magnitude of only 3.96.
Other Celestial Objects
The Sagittarius constellation does not have particularly bright stars. However, located crossed the aura of the Galaxy, inside it, several notable objects seem visible to the naked eye, including nebulae, open clusters, and globular clusters. In all, there are 15 Messier objects: 3 famous nebulae (Laguna, Omega and Trifida), 5 open clusters and 7 globular clusters.
The Lagoon Nebula (M8), visible to the naked eye in particularly clear nights, is located about 7 ° north of the star Al Nasl and is home to various interesting objects, such as open clusters and young stars; with binoculars, it looks like an opaque spot surrounded by stars. Omega (M17) is an emission nebula (that is, it emits light due to the ionized gas) very bright, easily observable in the dark and clear evening skies in the period between June and October.
Finally, the third famous nebula of the Sagittarius constellation is the Trifid Nebula (M20), so-called because a part of the powders that compose it absorbs light, creating dark lines that divides it into three. It is located just north of the n. Lagoon and binoculars appear like a circular and opaque spot.
Among the globular clusters, we recall M 22, the fifth of the whole celestial vault in order of luminosity and one of the closest to the Earth (it is about 10 thousand light-years). On clear nights, it is possible to distinguish a very small star even with the naked eye. The Sagittarius Star Cloud (M24), a region with a very high density of stars remais another celestial object seen with naked known.
Mythology of Sagittarius
The Sagittarius constellation depicted as an archer with horse legs and a man’s bust, with an arch. Stretched between his hands in the act of shooting an arrow at the nearby Scorpio, to avenge the death of Orion, caused by the animal’s sting.
Sometimes Sagittarius remains mistakenly identified with Chiron. Often people confuse it with the southern constellation of the Centaur. The two celestial centaurs, in reality, have a very different nature. While Chiron, inventor of medicine, is famous for wisdom and wisdom, Sagittarius is a skilled hunter.
The myth of Sagittarius already known to the ancient Sumerians. The Sumerians associated it with the god of war Ninurta, but later the Greeks adopted and twisted it. Eratosthenes, in the Cataterismi, described it not as a centaur but as a satyr, ancient hybrid with bust.