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 6530 (mag 4.6) Messier 22 (mag 5.2) NGC 6595 (mag 7.0)
Nunki (mag 2.1) Messier 25 (mag 4.6) Messier 55 (mag 6.3) IC 1284 (mag 7.7)
Ascella (mag 2.6) Messier 23 (mag 5.5) NGC 6723 (mag 6.8) NGC 6647 (mag 8.0)
Kaus Media (mag 2.7) Messier 21 (mag 5.9) Messier 28 (mag 6.9) NGC 6822 (mag 9.3)
Kaus Borealis (mag 2.8) Messier 17 (mag 6.0) NGC 6544 (mag 7.5) IC 4776 (mag 9.7)
π-Sgr (mag 2.9) Messier 20 (mag 6.3) NGC 6624 (mag 7.6) NGC 6590 (mag 9.8)
Alnasl (mag 3.0) Messier 18 (mag 6.9) Messier 54 (mag 7.7) NGC 6818 (mag 9.9)
η-Sgr (mag 3.1) NGC 6716 (mag 7.5) Messier 70 (mag 7.8) NGC 6528 (mag 10.7)
φ-Sgr (mag 3.1) NGC 6520 (mag 7.6) Messier 69 (mag 8.3) NGC 6629 (mag 11.6)
τ-Sgr (mag 3.3) NGC 6546 (mag 8.0) NGC 6553 (mag 8.3) NGC 6567 (mag 11.7)
ξ²-Sgr (mag 3.5) NGC 6469 (mag 8.2) NGC 6717 (mag 8.4) NGC 6644 (mag 12.2)
O-Sgr (mag 3.8) NGC 6645 (mag 8.5) NGC 6569 (mag 8.4) IC 4991 (mag 12.3)
μ-Sgr (mag 3.8) NGC 6568 (mag 8.6) NGC 6652 (mag 8.5) NGC 6878 (mag 12.4)
ρ¹-Sgr (mag 3.9) NGC 6507 (mag 9.6) NGC 6558 (mag 8.6) NGC 6537 (mag 12.5)
Rukbat (mag 3.9) NGC 6583 (mag 10.0) Messier 75 (mag 8.6) IC 4732 (mag 12.5)
Arkab Prior (mag 3.9) NGC 6603 (mag 11.1) NGC 6642 (mag 8.9) NGC 6835 (mag 12.5)
ι-Sgr (mag 4.1) NGC 6737 NGC 6522 (mag 9.5) IC 4931 (mag 12.8)
Arkab Posterior (mag 4.3) NGC 6561 NGC 6638 (mag 9.7) IC 4673 (mag 12.9)
θ¹-Sgr (mag 4.3) NGC 6774 NGC 6440 (mag 10.1) NGC 6836 (mag 13.0)
V3872 Sgr (mag 4.5) NGC 6596 NGC 6578 (mag 13.1)
b¹-Sgr (mag 4.5) NGC 6445 (mag 13.2)
HD 165634 (mag 4.6) NGC 6565 (mag 13.2)
υ-Sgr (mag 4.6) NGC 6841 (mag 13.4)
X Sgr (mag 4.6) NGC 6902 (mag 13.6)
h²-Sgr (mag 4.6) NGC 6563 (mag 13.8)

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EST

Color scheme