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Capricornus, The Sea Goat Constellation

Capricornus Constellation Star Map

Capricornus (Pronounciation:Cap-re-corn-us, Abbrev:Cap, Latin:Capricorni) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Capricornus takes up 413.947 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1% of the night sky. Capricornus is the 40th largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means The Sea Goat . 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 11 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 964 stars. There are 48 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

Capricornus is a member constellation of the Zodiac grouping, a group of 12 star signs that astrologers use to predict someones future based on their date of birth and which constellation appeared when the Sun set. The Zodiac year may be divided up equally between the twelve signs but when they appear in the night sky no longer conforms to the Zodiac calendar. Capricornus is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator.

There are 16 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Capricornus.

There are 1 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 Capricornus

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 38.70 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 1,055.54 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 385.33 light years.

Capricornus 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 103039, Capricornus's Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is HIP 103039 which is roughly about 18.63 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 204941 which is about 87.75 Light Years.

HIP 107037, Capricornus's Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 107037 and it is 65232.67 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.

47 Capricorni, Capricornus's Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Capricornus with the naked eye is 47 Capricorni. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. 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.

Capricornus Mythology

Usually referred to as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus when his mother Rhea saved her son from Cronos, his father. Another story has Pan, the goat god who was attacked by Typhon, the sea monster. Pan dived into the water, the lower part turned into a fish but the top part remained a goat.

How to Find and View Capricornus in the Night Sky

Northern Hemisphere

Capricornus can be seen on the horizon starting from July at about 9 p.m in a south-easterly direction. As its still light, you won't be able to get such a good view of the constellation as you would later in the year. In September, when the nights are drawing in, Capricornus is fully visible in the night sky after about 9pm.

The constellation is only visible for a few months before it starts to dip below the horizon about November time. Deneb Algedi is the last star in the constellation to disappear below the horizon. It is still visible at the beginning of December.

Southern Hemisphere

The Southern Hemisphere has a better view of the constellation starting from June when it appears on the horizon. Over the following months, the constellation will reach higher into the sky than it does in the southern hemisphere. It is seen in an easterly direction.

The constellation will be visible all the way until January the following year when it will then start to disappear below the horizon for the next six months.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Capricornus

There are 15 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
Chi Capricornids29 Jan- 28 Feb13-FebChi Capricorni
Alpha CapricornidsJul 03 - Aug 15 Jul 30Algiedi Prima
August delta Capricornids19th August  


List of Main Stars in Capricornus

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 Capricornus Star List page.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
Algiedi PrimaAlpha Capricorni569.2220h 17m 38.86-12d 30` 29.6G3IbYellow
DabihBeta Capricorni326.8220h 21m 00.65-14d 46` 53.0A5:nWhite
NashiraGamma Capricorni157.0421h 40m 05.34-16d 39` 44.1A7III:mp...White
Deneb AlgediDelta Capricorni38.7021h 47m 02.29-16d 07` 35.6A5mF2 (IV)White
KastraEpsilon Capricorni1055.5421h 37m 04.82-19d 27` 57.6B3V:pBlue/White
Zeta CapricorniZeta Capricorni385.5421h 26m 40.03-22d 24` 41.0G4Ibp...Yellow
DorsumTheta Capricorni162.1921h 05m 56.78-17d 13` 57.8A1VWhite
Iota CapricorniIota Capricorni196.7221h 22m 14.78-16d 50` 04.4G8IIIYellow
Psi CapricorniPsi Capricorni47.8720h 46m 05.77-25d 16` 13.9F5VYellow/White
Omega CapricorniOmega Capricorni842.8020h 51m 49.30-26d 55` 08.9K4IIIOrange
24 Capricorni456.1721h 07m 07.69-25d 00` 20.7K5/M0IIIOrange

Capricornus Facts


NameCapricornus
AbbreviationCap
Is a Zodiac Sign Yes
Brightest StarDeneb Algedi
Area413.947 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1%
Size Position40th
Hemisphere Equatorial
Site Exoplanet Count16
Meteor Shower Count15
Nearest StarHIP 103039
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 204941
Brightest StarDeneb Algedi
Dimmest Star47 Capricorni
Furthest StarHIP 107037
Bright Star Count48
Hipparcos Star Count964
Main Star Count11
Messier Deep Space Object Count1
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsAquarius
Aquila
Sagittarius
Microscopium
Piscis Austrinus

*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 Capricornus


NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Messier 30 (NGC7099)Globular Cluster27800 - 31000-23:1121h 40m 4
NGC 6986Elliptical Galaxy-18:33:5820h 56h 30m 6
NGC 7017Elliptical Galaxy-25 29 1521 07 20m 8


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