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Scorpius, The Scorpion Constellation Facts and Mythology

Scorpius Constellation Star Map

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.

The distance to Scorpius is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Scorpius is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

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.

Scorpius 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 86214, Nearest Star

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.

HIP 81070, Furthest Star

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.

Antares, Brightest Star in Scorpius

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.

V906 Scorpii, Dimmest Visible Star

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.

Acrab

Acrab is also known as Graffias which it shares with Beta Scorpii. It is a binary star system where both stars are large red stars which will both end their lives in a supernova expolsion.

AH Scorpii

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.

Alniyat

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

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 Mythology

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.

Giant Stars 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.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Scorpius

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.

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

List of Main Stars in Scorpius

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.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
AntaresAlpha Scorpii553.7616h 29m 24.47-26d 25` 55.0M1Ib + B2.5VRed
AcrabBeta Scorpii404.1716h 05m 26.23-19d 48` 19.4B0.5VBlue/White
Beta Scorpii-bBeta Scorpii-b398.2516h 05m 26.58-19d 48` 06.6B2VBlue/White
DschubbaDelta Scorpii491.2116h 00m 20.01-22d 37` 17.8B0.2IVBlue/White
LarawagEpsilon Scorpii63.7216h 50m 10.24-34d 17` 33.4K2IIIbOrange
Zeta1 ScorpiiZeta1 Scorpii2568.2216h 53m 59.73-42d 21` 43.3B1IaeBlue/White
Eta ScorpiiEta Scorpii73.4817h 12m 09.18-43d 14` 18.6F3pYellow/White
SargasTheta Scorpii300.3317h 37m 19.13-42d 59` 52.2F1IIYellow/White
ApollyonIota1 Scorpii1929.9617h 47m 35.08-40d 07` 37.1F3IaYellow/White
GirtabKappa Scorpii483.2017h 42m 29.28-39d 01` 47.7B1.5IIIBlue/White
ShaulaLambda Scorpii571.2117h 33m 36.53-37d 06` 13.5B1.5IV+...Blue/White
FangPi Scorpii585.5715h 58m 51.12-26d 06` 50.6B1V + B2VBlue/White
AlniyatSigma Scorpii696.9316h 21m 11.32-25d 35` 33.9B1IIIBlue/White
Tau ScorpiiTau Scorpii474.0716h 35m 52.96-28d 12` 57.5B0VBlue/White

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
Largest StarAH Scorpii
Brightest StarAntares
Dimmest StarV906 Scorpii
Furthest StarHIP 81070
Bright Star Count103
Hipparcos Star Count1707
Main Star Count14
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.



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
Cat's 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


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