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Auriga, The Charioteer Constellation

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. The constellation gets its name as it 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.

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 brightest star in Auriga is Capella. 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.

Auriga Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Auriga is 1951. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 77. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 6.

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.

Stars of Interest

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. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is Chi Aurigae which is located about 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.

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

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.

Constellation Legend

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.

Meteor Showers

There are 25 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

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
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.

Auriga Constellation Map

Auriga Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

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 Cluster 45110+32:3305h 52m 4
Messier 38 (NGC1912)Open Cluster4200+35:5005h 28m 4

Meteor Showers

Delta Aurigids Meteor Shower

Delta Aurigids are a minor annual Meteor Shower. The source of the meteors is unknown and it has a low rate of hits which could imply that the source is a long period comet and therefore its not been been here for some time as the meteors debris is getting fewer and fewer.

Max Activity Date29 Sep
Activity PeriodSep 18 - Oct 10
Right Ascension05:40
Solar Longitude186
Alpha Radiant82
Zenith Hourly Rate3

Zeta Aurigids Meteor Shower

Max Activity Date31 Jan
Activity Period11-Dec - 21 Jan

Alpha Aurigids Meteor Shower

Max Activity Date01 Sep
Activity PeriodAug 25-Sept 6

November Iota Aurigids Meteor Shower

Max Activity Date15 Nov
Activity Period1 Nov- 23 Nov
Right Ascension5
Alpha Radiant5
Zenith Hourly Rate8

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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.