Scorpius (Pronounciation:Skorp-i-us, Abbrev:Sco, Latin:Scorpii) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Scorpius takes up 496.783 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.2% of the night sky. Scorpius is the 33rd largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation name means The Scorpion . 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 14 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 1707 stars. There are 103 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
Scorpius 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. Scorpius is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator.
There are 38 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Scorpius. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Scorpius is AH Scorpii.
There are 4 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 2 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.
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 63.72 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 2,568.22 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 685.29 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 86214 which is roughly about 16.56 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 147513 which is about 41.68 Light Years.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 81070 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.
The brightest star in Scorpius is Antares and is located about 19.21 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 1.06 but an absolute magnitude of -5.09 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.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Scorpius with the naked eye is V906 Scorpii. 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.
AH Scorpii is one of the largest stars in the galaxy. If AH Scorpii was in the middle of our solar system, it would extend out past Earth, Mars and Jupiter but not reach as far as Saturn. We would not be here or be crammed on Pluto if that was the new Goldilocks planet.
Two stars shared the same name, one is Tau Scorpii and the other is Sigma Scorpii, both close to one another and in the same constellation. When using the name Alniyat or Al Niyat, you need to make sure you know which one you mean.
Jabbah, not to be confused with Jabba, the Hutt, the infamous slug like creature in the Star Wars films is a particularly interesting star. Jabbah along with AR Cassiopeiae have the most number of stars in a multiple star system, both having seven. No other star matches those for multi-star systems. There are no planets in orbit so far discovered in the star system.
Scorpius makes an appearance at 9pm on the horizon at the beginning of June. If you can't wait that long, you will need to stay up later earlier in the year. The claws of Scorpius can be seen early in the morning (about 4 a.m.) the previous month. In London, you will never get to see its tail, it only ever gets above the horizon due to its location south. Scorpius head disappears altogether in October.
Being closer to the equator, you will be able to get a better view of Scorpius. The constellation can be half-seen from June at 9pm but the best time to see it is from July to October when after that, it will disappear below the horizon again.
It can be best view from May until October. In July / August, it is highest in the sky moving in a westerly direction before it disappears. The Alpha Scorpiids meteor shower is viewable in May just above the horizon.
Whilst the reason for why it was sent to kill Orion is disputed, its actions are not. Scorpius came from out of the ground and stung Orion to death. Scorpius was sent by Gaia or Hera to kill Orion because Orion had displeased her. Another story had Scorpius sent because Apollo had grown jealous of Artemis' attention to the Orion. They appear in opposite parts of the sky to give the illusion that Orion is still running from the Scorpius.
The centre of the the Milky Way is on the eastern edge of the constellation, Scorpius is just right on the borders with it. If the border was a few degrees over, it'd have the centre. Despite not having the centre of the Milky Way, it does boast some other points of interest. The constellation has AH Scorpii which is one of the largest stars to have been so far discovered. The stars would stretch out past the orbit of the Earth if it was in the centre of our solar system.
There are 9 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|
|May Psi Scorpiids||24th May|
|South Omega Scorpiids||23 May- 15 Jun||31-May||Omega1 Scorpii|
|North Omega Scorpiids||23 May- 15 Jun||31-May||Omega1 Scorpii|
|Northern omega Scorpiids||31st May|
|Daytime Delta Scorpiids||6th December|
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 Scorpius Star List page.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Antares||Alpha Scorpii||553.76||16h 29m 24.47||-26d 25` 55.0||M1Ib + B2.5V||Red|
|Acrab||Beta Scorpii||404.17||16h 05m 26.23||-19d 48` 19.4||B0.5V||Blue/White|
|Beta Scorpii-b||Beta Scorpii-b||398.25||16h 05m 26.58||-19d 48` 06.6||B2V||Blue/White|
|Dschubba||Delta Scorpii||491.21||16h 00m 20.01||-22d 37` 17.8||B0.2IV||Blue/White|
|Larawag||Epsilon Scorpii||63.72||16h 50m 10.24||-34d 17` 33.4||K2IIIb||Orange|
|Zeta1 Scorpii||Zeta1 Scorpii||2568.22||16h 53m 59.73||-42d 21` 43.3||B1Iae||Blue/White|
|Eta Scorpii||Eta Scorpii||73.48||17h 12m 09.18||-43d 14` 18.6||F3p||Yellow/White|
|Sargas||Theta Scorpii||300.33||17h 37m 19.13||-42d 59` 52.2||F1II||Yellow/White|
|Apollyon||Iota1 Scorpii||1929.96||17h 47m 35.08||-40d 07` 37.1||F3Ia||Yellow/White|
|Girtab||Kappa Scorpii||483.20||17h 42m 29.28||-39d 01` 47.7||B1.5III||Blue/White|
|Shaula||Lambda Scorpii||571.21||17h 33m 36.53||-37d 06` 13.5||B1.5IV+...||Blue/White|
|Fang||Pi Scorpii||585.57||15h 58m 51.12||-26d 06` 50.6||B1V + B2V||Blue/White|
|Alniyat||Sigma Scorpii||696.93||16h 21m 11.32||-25d 35` 33.9||B1III||Blue/White|
|Paikauhale||Tau Scorpii||474.07||16h 35m 52.96||-28d 12` 57.5||B0V||Blue/White|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||Yes|
|Area||496.783 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||1.2%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||38|
|Meteor Shower Count||9|
|Nearest Star||HIP 86214|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 147513|
|Largest Star||AH Scorpii|
|Dimmest Star||V906 Scorpii|
|Furthest Star||HIP 81070|
|Bright Star Count||103|
|Hipparcos Star Count||1707|
|Main Star Count||14|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||4|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Ophiuchus|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|Butterfly Cluster (M6, NGC6405)||Open Star Cluster||1600||-32:13||17h 40m 1|
|Butterfly Nebula (NGC6302)||Planetary Nebula||3,800 LY||-37d 06` 15.94||17h 13m 44m 211|
|Cat's Paw Nebula (NGC6334)||Emission Nebula||about 5,500||-35:57:47||17h 19h 58|
|Lobster Nebula (NGC6357)||Supernova Remnant||about 8,0000||-34:20||17h 24|
|Messier 4 (NGC6121)||Globular Cluster||7200||-26:32||16h 23m 6|
|Messier 80 (NGC6093)||Globular Cluster||32600||-22:59||16h 17m 0|
|NGC 6388||Globular Cluster||32.3 Kilo Ly||-44:44:8.34||17h 36h 17m 461|
|Ptolemys Cluster (M7, NGC6475)||Open Star Cluster||0.65-1.31 kly||-34:49||17h 53m 9|
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