Universe Guide

Auriga, The Charioteer Constellation

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 5 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.

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.

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.

Distance to Auriga

You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 42.80 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 2,131.79 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 582.94 light years.

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.

QY Aurigae, Auriga's Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is QY Aurigae 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, Auriga's 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.

AE Aurigae, Auriga's 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.

Aurigae Information

The constellation shares ownership of El Nath (Beta Tauri) as it is part of both constellations. It was once considered to be Gamma Aurigae in addition to Beta Tauri.

El Nath is considered the brightest star / biggest star that is closest to the Anti-centre of the galaxy. The centre of the galaxy is Sagittarius A* and El Nath is in the opposite direction.

How to Find and View Auriga in the Night Sky

Northern Hemisphere

In London, Capella, the brightest star in Auriga is visible throughout the whole year. Part of the constellation is obscurred from about June to October time. Menkalinan (Beta Aurigae) is also visible throughout the whole of the year from the UK.

Southern Hemisphere

Auriga is just about fully visible in January with Capella just above the horizon. The best time to see it is in February and March when it is not obscured. It never reaches high into the sky. To find it, look for the unmistakable Orion with its belt and look downards to the horizon.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Auriga

There are 24 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. 1/2Mahasim
Delta AurigidsSep 18 - Oct 10 Sep 29Delta Aurigae
November Iota Aurigids1 Nov- 23 Nov15-NovHassaleh

List of Main Stars in Auriga

The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Auriga Star List page.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
CapellaAlpha Aurigae42.8005h 16m 41.30+45d 59` 56.5M1: compRed
MenkalinanBeta Aurigae81.1105h 59m 31.77+44d 56` 50.8A2VWhite
AlmaazEpsilon Aurigae2131.7905h 01m 58.13+43d 49` 23.9F0IaYellow/White
MahasimTheta Aurigae165.5705h 59m 43.24+37d 12` 46.0A0p SiWhite
HassalehIota Aurigae493.4404h 56m 59.62+33d 09` 58.1K3IIvarOrange

Auriga Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarCapella
Area657.438 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.59%
Size Position21st
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count8
Meteor Shower Count24
Nearest StarQY Aurigae
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 40979
Largest StarAlmaaz
Brightest StarCapella
Dimmest StarAE Aurigae
Furthest StarChi Aurigae
Bright Star Count77
Hipparcos Star Count1951
Main Star Count5
Messier Deep Space Object Count3
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
3C 147Seyfert 1 Galaxy+49 51 07.233725105 42 36m 13789843
Messier 36 (NGC1960)Open Star Cluster4100+34:0805h 36m 1
Messier 37 (NGC2099)Open Star Cluster45110+32:3305h 52m 4
Messier 38 (NGC1912)Open Star Cluster4200+35:5005h 28m 4
Tadpoles NebulaNebula19640 33:29:0005h 22h 00

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