All About Sagittarius Constellation
Sagittarius, the “Archer,” is the 15th largest constellation in the sky located in the southern hemisphere. The constellation appears as an archer or centaur holding a bow and arrow.
It is one of the 48 constellations listed by Greco-Roman astronomer Ptolemy in the second century. During the winter solstice, the Capricorn constellation resided at the location of the Sun but due to the axial-precession (gradual shift in the orientation of Earth’s axis), it has now shifted to Sagittarius.
Sagittarius lives in the densest part of the Milky Way, therefore it contains many deep sky objects, star clusters and nebulae.
Sagittarius is located in the fourth quadrant of the southern hemisphere. It occupies an area of 867 square degrees.
The coordinates of Sagittarius are 19h 00m 00s, −25° 00′ 00. It is visible at latitudes between +55° and -90°. Neighboring constellations are Aquila, Scutum, Serpens Cauda, Ophiuchus, Scorpius, Corona Australis, Telescopium, Indus, Microscopium, and Capricornus.
The centaur formation of stars may be hard to spot for some people, however, the teapot asterism in the western half of Sagittarius is comparatively easier to see.
Sagittarius Constellation Mythology
In Greek mythology, the Sagittarius constellation is associated with a centaur - half man, half horse, representing human for the top part of the body, and horse for the bottom. The identity of the centaur is unknown, however, some Greeks identified Sagittarius as Chiron - the wise and just centaur.
In another mythology, Sagittarius is identified as Crotus the satyr, son of Pan, who is believed to have invented archery according to Greek beliefs. Crotus was also a centaur and used to go hunting quite frequently. He lived on Mount Helicon with the Muses. The goddesses asked Zeus to place Crotus in the sky, where we can see him today as the archer.
By Till Credner - Own work: AlltheSky.com
Major Stars of the Sagittarius Constellation
Epsilon Sagittarii (ε Sgr)
Epsilon Sagittarii was formerly named Kaus Australis — Kaus from Arabic meaning “bow.” It is one of the brightest stars in the Sagittarius constellation. Epsilon Sagittarii is estimated to be located around 143 light-years from the Sun.
It consists of a primary star ε Sagittarii A and secondary star, ε Sagittarii B. ε Sagittarii A is about 6.8 times the radius of the Sun. The star has evolved considerably over time and is known for its high luminosity. ε Sagittarii B has a mass of 95% that of the Sun, It is located inside the debris disk.
Sigma Sagittarii (σ Sgr)
Sigma Sagittarii (σ Sgr), also called “Nunki” is the second-brightest star in the Sagittarius constellation. The name Nunki dates back its origin to the Assyrian or Babylonian traditions. Nunki is a blue-white star which represents the lid of the teapot.
Sigma Sagittarii is located at a distance of 228 light-years from the Sun. it is 3,300 times brighter compared to the Sun, and its rotational speed is 100 times faster than the Sun.
It has an apparent visual magnitude of 2.05 and absolute magnitude of −2.17.
Zeta Sagittarii (ζ Sgr)
Zeta Sagittarii also known as Ascella is the third brightest star in the constellation. The name Ascella is derived from Late Latin, meaning “armpit.” It is a binary star located 88 light years away from the Sun.
Zeta Sagittarii is made up of three components: A, B, and C. Zeta Sagittarii A and B have a combined mass of 5.26 ± 0.37 times the mass of the Sun. The third companion star C is located at a distance of 75 arcseconds from A and B.
Beta Librea – β Zubeneschamali:
Delta Sagittarii or "Kaus Meridionalis," is a double star in the sagittarius constellation. The name Kaus Meridionalis is derived from the Arabic word qaws meaning “bow.' This is because the star outlines the bow of the Archer.
The northern end of the bow marks Kaus Borealis, with Kaus Australis at the southern end. In the eastern end or the middle, lies the Kaus Meridionalis.
The star is located 348 light-years from the Sun and has a mass 5 times that of the Sun. Delta Sagittarii has three faint companions: 14th, 15th, and 13th magnitude stars, located at a separation of 26, 40, and 58 arcseconds.
Pi Sagittarii (π Sgr)
Pi Sagittarii or “Albaldah” is a triple star system located about 510 light-years away from the Sun. Albaldah originates from Arabic, meaning 'the town.' The star is very bright and has a luminosity of approximately 1000 Suns, which estimates its mass to be five times that of the Sun.
Pi Sagittarii is located near the ecliptic and can be occulted by the Moon and sometimes the planets. Expect the next occultation to occur in February 2035 by planet Venus.
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Sagittarius is the ninth astrological sign in the Zodiac. In astrology, the tropical duration of Sagittarius is between November 23 and December 21 which means those who are born during these dates fall under the Sagittarius zodiac.
Sagittarius is part of the Fire Trigon along with Aries and Leo. People born under this star have “mutable” zodiac quality. Mutability refers to flexibility, wisdom and adaptability. The other three mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo and Pisces.