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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|Chi Capricornids||29 Jan- 28 Feb||13-Feb||Chi Capricorni|
|Alpha Capricornids||Jul 03 - Aug 15||Jul 30||Algiedi Prima|
|August delta Capricornids||19th August|
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.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Algiedi Prima||Alpha Capricorni||569.22||20h 17m 38.86||-12d 30` 29.6||G3Ib||Yellow|
|Dabih||Beta Capricorni||326.82||20h 21m 00.65||-14d 46` 53.0||A5:n||White|
|Nashira||Gamma Capricorni||157.04||21h 40m 05.34||-16d 39` 44.1||A7III:mp...||White|
|Deneb Algedi||Delta Capricorni||38.70||21h 47m 02.29||-16d 07` 35.6||A5mF2 (IV)||White|
|Kastra||Epsilon Capricorni||1055.54||21h 37m 04.82||-19d 27` 57.6||B3V:p||Blue/White|
|Zeta Capricorni||Zeta Capricorni||385.54||21h 26m 40.03||-22d 24` 41.0||G4Ibp...||Yellow|
|Dorsum||Theta Capricorni||162.19||21h 05m 56.78||-17d 13` 57.8||A1V||White|
|Iota Capricorni||Iota Capricorni||196.72||21h 22m 14.78||-16d 50` 04.4||G8III||Yellow|
|Psi Capricorni||Psi Capricorni||47.87||20h 46m 05.77||-25d 16` 13.9||F5V||Yellow/White|
|Omega Capricorni||Omega Capricorni||842.80||20h 51m 49.30||-26d 55` 08.9||K4III||Orange|
|24 Capricorni||456.17||21h 07m 07.69||-25d 00` 20.7||K5/M0III||Orange|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||Yes|
|Brightest Star||Deneb Algedi|
|Area||413.947 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||1%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||16|
|Meteor Shower Count||15|
|Nearest Star||HIP 103039|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 204941|
|Brightest Star||Deneb Algedi|
|Dimmest Star||47 Capricorni|
|Furthest Star||HIP 107037|
|Bright Star Count||48|
|Hipparcos Star Count||964|
|Main Star Count||11|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||1|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Aquarius|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|Messier 30 (NGC7099)||Globular Cluster||27800 - 31000||-23:11||21h 40m 4|
|NGC 6986||Elliptical Galaxy||-18:33:58||20h 56h 30m 6|
|NGC 7017||Elliptical Galaxy||-25 29 15||21 07 20m 8|
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