The Constellation Scorpius

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

Scorpius is a southern constellation which appears highest in the evening sky in the months around May.

It is one of the twelve members of the zodiac, depicted as a scorpion. It should be noted that although astrologers still refer to this constellation by its old name, Scorpio, the modern constellations is called Scorpius. The Sun passes through it each year for around a week in late November.

Although the Sun spends only a few days in Scorpius each year, it is a moderately sized constellation. The northern tip of the constellation which represents the scorpion's claws is a narrow strip of sky (see the map to the right), which the Sun takes little time to cross.

The brightest star in this sky area is Antares, which marks the scorpion's head. South of this, the scorpion's curving tail is marked by a string of second-magnitude stars.

The plane of the Milky Way passes through Scorpius's southern reaches, and it is rich in star clusters, including 18 open clusters brighter than tenth-magnitude. Lying next to Sagittarius, where the Milky Way's center lies, Scorpius also has a number of bright globular clusters.

In Greek mythology, the scorpion depicted here is said to have stung Orion the hunter to death.

Date First Appeared
Sky Area
1.2% of the sky
496.8 square degrees
Messier Objects
Scorpius contains the following Messier objects: M4, M6, M7, M80.
Caldwell Objects
Scorpius contains the following Caldwell objects: C69, C75, C76.
The following constellations neighbor Scorpius: Ara, Corona Australis, Libra, Lupus, Norma, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius.
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Brightest Objects in Scorpius

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Antares (mag 1.1) NGC 6231 (mag 2.6) Messier 4 (mag 5.9) NGC 6000
Shaula (mag 1.6) Messier 7 (mag 3.3) NGC 6388 (mag 6.9) IC 4596
Sargas (mag 1.9) Messier 6 (mag 4.2) Messier 80 (mag 7.2)
ε-Sco (mag 2.3) NGC 6281 (mag 5.4) NGC 6441 (mag 7.4)
Dschubba (mag 2.3) NGC 6383 (mag 5.5) NGC 6144 (mag 9.1)
κ-Sco (mag 2.4) NGC 6416 (mag 5.7) NGC 6496 (mag 9.2)
Acrab (mag 2.6) NGC 6124 (mag 5.8) NGC 6139 (mag 9.2)
Lesath (mag 2.6) NGC 6322 (mag 6.0) NGC 6453 (mag 9.9)
τ-Sco (mag 2.8) NGC 6242 (mag 6.4) NGC 6256
π-Sco (mag 2.9) NGC 6178 (mag 7.2) NGC 6380
σ-Sco (mag 2.9) NGC 6425 (mag 7.2)
μ¹-Sco (mag 3.0) NGC 6451 (mag 8.0)
ι¹-Sco (mag 3.0) NGC 6259 (mag 8.0)
G-Sco (mag 3.2) NGC 6249 (mag 8.2)
η-Sco (mag 3.3) NGC 6396 (mag 8.5)
μ²-Sco (mag 3.5) NGC 6374 (mag 9.0)
ζ²-Sco (mag 3.6) NGC 6400 (mag 9.0)
ρ-Sco (mag 3.9) NGC 6192 (mag 9.0)
ω¹-Sco (mag 4.0) NGC 6222 (mag 10.0)
ν-Sco (mag 4.1) NGC 6216 (mag 10.0)
H-Sco (mag 4.2) NGC 6268 (mag 10.0)
N-Sco (mag 4.2) NGC 6404 (mag 11.0)
Q-Sco (mag 4.3) NGC 6318 (mag 12.0)
ω²-Sco (mag 4.3) NGC 6444
ξ-Sco (mag 4.3)




Color scheme