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Sagittarius is usually depicted as a centaur holding a bow and arrow. It is also associated with Crotus, the satyr who kept company of the Muses on Mount Helicon. Sagittarius is one of the largest southern constellations. It is easy to find because it lies on the Milky Way and its brightest stars form an asterism known as the Teapot. Like other zodiac constellations , Sagittarius was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Sagittarius is the 15th largest constellation in the sky.
It occupies an area of square degrees. Sagittarius has seven stars brighter than magnitude 3. The nearest star is Ross V Sagittarii, spectral class M3. The constellation has 32 stars with confirmed planets. HD G5IV has a known exoplanet, discovered in A gas giant planet was discovered orbiting the orange dwarf HD K3.
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There are no meteor showers associated with the constellation. In Greek mythology, Sagittarius represents a centaur, a half human, half horse creature with the torso of a man and the body and four legs of a horse.
The centaur is depicted as aiming an arrow toward the heart of the neighbouring constellation Scorpio , represented by the red supergiant star Antares. Sometimes Sagittarius is wrongly identified as the centaur Chiron, represented by the constellation Centaurus. Sagittarius constellation has its roots in Sumerian mythology.
Eratosthenes argued that the constellation really represented a satyr and not a centaur. According to the Roman author Hyginus, Crotus was the son of Pan and the archer the constellation was named after. Crotus invented archery and lived on Mount Helicon. Because he was close to the Muses, they were the ones who asked Zeus to place him in the sky.
Epsilon Sagittarii is a binary star approximately light years distant. It is a blue class B giant with an apparent magnitude of 1. Kaus Australis is the brightest star in the constellation Sagittarius and the 36th brightest star in the sky. It has a faint 14th magnitude companion 32 arc seconds away.
Sigma Sagittarii is the second brightest star in the constellation Sagittarius. It is a hydrogen fusing dwarf star that belongs to the spectral type B2. It has an apparent magnitude of 2. The star has a luminosity 3, times that of the Sun and about seven solar masses. It is a very fast rotator, spinning with a speed of more than kilometres per second, which is about times faster than the Sun. The star lies approximately light years from Earth. Sigma Sagittarii is sometimes also known as Nunki. The significance of the name is unknown, except that it is a proper name.
It was recovered by archaeologists and made public by Richard Hinckley Allen in his book Star names, their lore and meaning. Nunki has a faint magnitude 9.
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Nunki is located close to the eclipic and it can sometimes be occulted by the Moon and, very rarely, by planets. The star was last occulted by a planet on November 17, , when Venus passed in front of it. Sigma Sagittarii is also notable for being the brightest star that can be occulted by an exterior planet. This, however, only applies to Mars and it happens extremely rarely. The last time it did was on September 3, Delta Sagittarii is a multiple star system approximately light years distant in the constellation Sagittarius.
Delta Sagittarii has a radius 62 times solar, a mass about five times solar, and is times more luminous than the Sun. The Delta Sagittarii system is known in fiction from William R. It is the destination of a crew of women who travel onboard the Colonial Unit to the Delta Sagittarii star system carrying a supply of sperm purged of the Y chromosome.
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It is approximately It has a radius 11 times solar and is 52 times more luminous than the Sun. Lambda Sagittarii is what astronomers sometimes refer to as a clump star: one undergoing the final stages of its existence, but stable nevertheless and fusing helium into carbon and oxygen in its core. Since it lies very close to the ecliptic, Lambda Sagittarii is occasionally occulted by the Moon and, more rarely, by planets.
The last time this happened was on November 19, , when Venus passed in front of the star, eclipsing it. Before that, Mercury occulted the star on December 5, Lambda Sagittarii marks the handle of the Teapot asterism see below and points to the famous interstellar cloud, the Lagoon Nebula. Alpha Sagittarii is a blue dwarf belonging to the spectral class B8V. It has an apparent magnitude of 3. The star is believed to have a debris disk, like Vega , the brightest star in the constellation Lyra. What is atypical for a B8V class star is that Alpha Sagittarii is emitting an excess flux of X-rays, possibly because its companion star is still in the pre-main sequence stage.
Alpha Sagittarii shares its traditional name, Rukbat, with the star Delta Cassiopeiae. Pern, the planet on which the action takes place, orbits Rukbat, which is described as a class G yellow star in the novels. Beta Sagittarii is a designation shared by two star systems, Beta-1 Sagittarii and Beta-2 Sagittarii, which lie 0.
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Beta-1 Sagittarii, or Arkab Prior prior because it leads Beta-2 across the sky , is a double star approximately light years distant. It belongs to the spectral type B9V.
The primary component, Arkab Prior A, is a B9 type main sequence dwarf with an apparent magnitude of 3. The stars are 28 arc seconds apart. It has an apparent magnitude of 4. Zeta Sagittarii is another binary star in Sagittarius.
It is the third brightest star in the constellation, after Epsilon and Sigma Sagittarii. The star is approximately Zeta Sagittarii consists of a class A2 giant star with an apparent magnitude of 3. The binary system has a combined apparent magnitude of 2. The two stars are separated by Ascella also has a dim companion 75 arc seconds away.
It is a 10th magnitude star. Phi Sagittarii is a B8 class giant approximately light years from Earth. It is one of the stars that form the Teapot asterism ; it marks the junction of the handle and the lid of the Teapot. Pi Sagittarii is a triple star system approximately light years distant, with an apparent magnitude of 2. It belongs to the spectral class F2II. The primary star has two companions; Pi Sagittarii B 0.
Like several other stars in Sagittarius, Albaldah is near the ecliptic and can occasionally be occulted by the Moon and planets. The next occultation by a planet Venus will take place in our lifetime: on February 17, The Gamma designation used to be shared by two star systems in Sagittarius, Gamma-1 and Gamma-2, which were separated by 0. Gamma Sagittarii is also known by its traditional names, Alnasl and Nushaba. Tau Sagittarii is an orange giant star belonging to the spectral type K1 or K2, approximately light years distant.
It is one of the stars that mark the handle of the Teapot asterism.
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