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Scorpius, The Scorpion Constellation

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. The constellation gets its name as it 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.

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.

The brightest star in Scorpius is Antares. 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. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Scorpius Star List Page.

Scorpius Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Scorpius is 1707. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 103. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 15.

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.

Stars of Interest

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 can be located in the constellation is HIP 81070 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 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

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

Whilst the reason for why it was sent to kill Orion is disputed, its actions are not. He came from out of the ground and stung Orion to death. Scorpius was sent by Gaia or Hera to kill Orion because he had displeased her. Another story had Scorpius sent because Apollo had grown jealous of Artemis' attention to the man. They appear in opposite parts of the sky to give the illusion that Orion is still running from the Scorpius.

Giant star and the Centre of the Milky Way

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.

Jabbah

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.

Alniyat

You might notice that there are two stars in the list called Alniyat. The reason for this is because there are two stars with that name, this is because two stars have been named it, Tau Scorpii and Sigma Scorpii.

Meteor Showers

There are 9 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
Alpha Scorpiids21 Apr- 26 May15-MayAntares
South Omega Scorpiids23 May- 15 Jun31-MayOmega1 Scorpii
North Omega Scorpiids23 May- 15 Jun31-MayOmega1 Scorpii

Scorpius Facts


NameScorpius
AbbreviationSco
Is a Zodiac Sign Yes
Largest StarAH Scorpii
Brightest StarAntares
Area496.783 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.2%
Size Position33rd
Hemisphere Equatorial
Site Exoplanet Count38
Meteor Shower Count9
Nearest StarHIP 86214
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 147513
Dimmest StarV906 Scorpii
Furthest StarHIP 81070
Bright Star Count103
Hipparcos Star Count1707
Main Star Count15
Messier Deep Space Object Count4
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count2
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsOphiuchus
Libra
Lupus
Norma
Ara
Corona Australis
Sagittarius

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.


Scorpius Constellation Map


Scorpius 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 Scorpius


NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Butterfly Cluster (M6, NGC6405)Open Cluster1600-32:1317h 40m 1
Butterfly Nebula (NGC6302)Planetary Nebula3,800 LY-37d 06` 15.9417h 13m 44m 211
Cats Paw Nebula (NGC6334)Emissions Nebulaabout 5,500-35:57:4717h 19h 58
Lobster Nebula (NGC6357)Supernova Remnantabout 8,0000-34:2017h 24
Messier 4 (NGC6121)Globular Cluster7200-26:3216h 23m 6
Messier 80 (NGC6093)Globular Cluster32600-22:5916h 17m 0
Ptolemys Cluster (M7, NGC6475)Open Cluster0.65-1.31 kly-34:4917h 53m 9

Meteor Showers

Alpha Scorpiids Meteor Shower

Alpha Scorpiids can sometimes be misspelt as Alpha-Scorpids with just one i in the second name. It is definately two i`s because if you look up Antares, it is noted as being Alpha Scorpii from what the meteor shower gets its name from.

It is a faint and small meteor shower and if you plan to spend much time watching for them, you`ll probably be disappointed as they only appear three every hour. If you do decide to look out for them, good luck.

The source of the meteor shower is an asteroid whose journey take in towards the Sun then out towards Jupiter before coming back in again before actually reaching the gas giant. The picture below was generated using N.A.S.A. page and shows the path.

DisplayImage("asteroids/2004bz74.png","Diagram showing the path of 2004 BZ74 asteroid, the alledge source of the Alpha-Scorpiids");
Associated Comet2004 BZ74?
Max Activity Date15 May
Activity Period21 Apr- 26 May
Right Ascension240.7
Declination-22.1
Solar Longitude55.2
Alpha Radiant240.7
Speed35
Zenith Hourly Rate3

South Omega Scorpiids Meteor Shower


Max Activity Date31 May
Activity Period23 May- 15 Jun
Right Ascension17
Declination-22
Alpha Radiant17
Speed26
Zenith Hourly Rate5

North Omega Scorpiids Meteor Shower


Max Activity Date31 May
Activity Period23 May- 15 Jun
Right Ascension17
Declination-15
Alpha Radiant17
Speed23
Zenith Hourly Rate5


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