The Constellation Sagittarius

by Dominic Ford
Sagittarius Sagittarius
The constellation Sagittarius. Roll mouse over to see labels.
Source: Stellarium.

Sagittarius is a large southern constellation which spans the declination range δ=12°S to δ=45°S. It appears highest in the evening sky in the months around July.

This area of the sky looks directly towards the center of the Milky Way, which is marked by the radio source Sgr A. This makes it the richest of all the constellations for deep sky objects, including no fewer than fifteen open clusters and eighteen globular clusters brighter than tenth magnitude. Among these is M22, the fifth brightest globular cluster in the sky.

It is also home to the diffuse ninth-magnitude galaxy NGC 6822, also known as Caldwell 57.

Sagittarius is one of the twelve members of the zodiac, and the Sun passes through it each year between mid-December and mid-January.

Sagittarius is usually depicted as a centaur (half horse, half man) holding a bow and arrow. The constellation is of Sumerian origin and was subsequently adopted by the Greeks, leading to some uncertainty over the archer's identity. According to Eratosthenes, the archer is Crotus, nurse to the Muses and the inventor of archery. However, this association is problematic as Crotus was not a centaur, but rather a satyr.

Date First Appeared
Ancient
Sky Area
2.1% of the sky
867.4 square degrees
Messier Objects
Sagittarius contains the following Messier objects: M8, M17, M18, M20, M21, M22, M23, M25, M28, M54, M55, M69, M70, M75.
Caldwell Objects
Sagittarius contains the following Caldwell object: C57.
Neighbors
The following constellations neighbor Sagittarius: Aquila, Capricornus, Corona Australis, Indus, Microscopium, Ophiuchus, Scorpius, Scutum, Serpens Cauda, Telescopium.
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Brightest Objects in Sagittarius

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Kaus Australis (mag 1.8) NGC 6774 (mag 0.0) Messier 22 (mag 6.2) IC 4895 (mag 0.0)
Nunki (mag 2.1) NGC 6561 (mag 0.0) Messier 55 (mag 6.5) NGC 6841 (mag 0.0)
Ascella (mag 2.6) NGC 6595 (mag 0.0) Messier 28 (mag 6.9) IC 4991 (mag 0.0)
Kaus Media (mag 2.7) NGC 6540 (mag 0.0) NGC 6723 (mag 7.3) NGC 6805 (mag 0.0)
Kaus Borealis (mag 2.8) NGC 6737 (mag 0.0) Messier 69 (mag 7.7) IC 4913 (mag 0.0)
π-Sgr (mag 2.9) NGC 6596 (mag 0.0) Messier 54 (mag 7.7) IC 4998 (mag 0.0)
Alnasl (mag 3.0) NGC 6530 (mag 4.6) Messier 75 (mag 8.3) NGC 6806 (mag 0.0)
η-Sgr (mag 3.1) Messier 25 (mag 4.6) NGC 6553 (mag 8.3) IC 1309 (mag 0.0)
φ-Sgr (mag 3.1) Messier 23 (mag 5.5) NGC 6624 (mag 8.3) NGC 6836 (mag 0.0)
τ-Sgr (mag 3.3) Messier 21 (mag 5.9) Messier 70 (mag 9.1) IC 4931 (mag 0.0)
ξ²-Sgr (mag 3.5) Messier 17 (mag 6.0) NGC 6569 (mag 9.5) NGC 6794 (mag 0.0)
O-Sgr (mag 3.8) Messier 20 (mag 6.3) NGC 6522 (mag 9.5) IC 5018 (mag 0.0)
μ-Sgr (mag 3.8) Messier 18 (mag 6.9) NGC 6638 (mag 9.7) NGC 6822 (mag 8.1)
ρ¹-Sgr (mag 3.9) NGC 6716 (mag 7.5) NGC 6652 (mag 9.8) NGC 6878 (mag 12.4)
Rukbat (mag 3.9) NGC 6520 (mag 7.6) NGC 6544 (mag 9.9) NGC 6835 (mag 12.5)
Arkab Prior (mag 3.9) NGC 6546 (mag 8.0) NGC 6440 (mag 10.1) NGC 6902 (mag 13.6)
ι-Sgr (mag 4.1) NGC 6647 (mag 8.0) NGC 6642 (mag 10.2) NGC 6890 (mag 14.0)
Arkab Posterior (mag 4.3) NGC 6469 (mag 8.2) NGC 6717 (mag 10.3)
θ¹-Sgr (mag 4.3) NGC 6645 (mag 8.5) NGC 6528 (mag 10.7)
V3872 Sgr (mag 4.5) NGC 6568 (mag 8.6) NGC 6558 (mag 11.3)
b¹-Sgr (mag 4.5) NGC 6507 (mag 9.6)
HD 165634 (mag 4.6) NGC 6583 (mag 10.0)
υ-Sgr (mag 4.6) NGC 6603 (mag 11.1)
X Sgr (mag 4.6)
h²-Sgr (mag 4.6)

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

Color scheme