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Auriga, The Charioteer Constellation Facts and Mythology

Auriga Constellation Star Map

Auriga (Pronounciation:Or-rye-ga, Abbrev:Aur, Latin:Aurigae) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Auriga takes up 657.438 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.59% of the night sky. Auriga is the 21st largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means The Charioteer . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

There are 6 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 1951 stars. There are 77 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

Auriga is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Auriga is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.

The distance to Auriga is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Auriga is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

There are 8 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Auriga. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Auriga is Almaaz. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Auriga Star List Page.

There are 3 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.

The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.

Auriga Star Facts

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

HIP 34603, Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is HIP 34603 which is roughly about 20.53 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 40979 which is about 108 Light Years.

Chi Aurigae, Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is Chi Aurigae and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

Capella, Brightest Star in Auriga

The brightest star in Auriga is Capella and is located about 248.54 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 0.08 but an absolute magnitude of -0.51 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is recognised as being the brightest in the constellation as it has the Bayer status of Alpha.

AE Aurigae, Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Auriga with the naked eye is AE Aurigae. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.99. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.

Auriga Mythology

The Romans referred to it as Erichthonius, son of Minerva and Vulcan. The Greeks equivalence of the parents were Athena and Hephaestus. The son invented the four-horse chariot.

Although not part of the Mythology Legend, Auriga was the name of the spaceship in the fourth alien film starring Sigourney Weaver and Ron Perlman.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Auriga

There are 25 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Zeta Aurigids11-Dec - 21 Jan31-JanSaclateni
Alpha AurigidsAug 25-Sept 6Sept. 1/2Capella
Delta AurigidsSep 18 - Oct 10 Sep 29Delta Aurigae
November Iota Aurigids1 Nov- 23 Nov15-NovHassaleh

Auriga Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Largest StarAlmaaz
Brightest StarCapella
Area657.438 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.59%
Size Position21st
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count8
Meteor Shower Count25
Nearest StarHIP 34603
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 40979
Brightest StarCapella
Dimmest StarAE Aurigae
Furthest StarChi Aurigae
Bright Star Count77
Hipparcos Star Count1951
Main Star Count6
Messier Deep Space Object Count3
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCamelopardalis

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Auriga

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Messier 36 (NGC1960)Open Cluster4100+34:0805h 36m 1
Messier 37 (NGC2099)Open Cluster45110+32:3305h 52m 4
Messier 38 (NGC1912)Open Cluster4200+35:5005h 28m 4

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Deborah RaineyFriday, 13th May 2016 1:53:18 PM
Curious as to WHY "Auriga RA 6h 10m 27s 051 33'" is noted as missing? thank you.