The Constellation Auriga

by Dominic Ford
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Auriga is a prominent constellation, visible in the far northern sky in the months around February. Its brightest star, Capella, is the sixth brightest in the sky.

Lying close to the plane of the northern Milky Way, it is littered with open clusters, including M36, M37 and M38. These are groupings of young stars, recently formed in the Taurus–Auriga molecular cloud.

Auriga is identified in Greek mythology as a charioteer, usually depicted holding a goat and two kids. The star Capella forms the body of the goat, and its name translates as ‘she-goat’.

There are various conflicting accounts of Auriga's identity in Greek mythology. One popular story is that he is Erichthonius, son of Vulcan, who was the first person to attach four horses to a chariot. Greek mythology has no explanation for why Erichthonius should be depicted holding a goat, and so the goat was probably once a separate constellation which has been awkwardly merged into Auriga.

Date First Appeared
Sky Area
1.6% of the sky
657.4 square degrees
Messier Objects
Auriga contains the following Messier objects: M36, M37, M38.
Caldwell Objects
Auriga contains the following Caldwell object: C31.
The following constellations neighbor Auriga: Camelopardalis, Gemini, Lynx, Perseus, Taurus.
Auriga Auriga
The constellation Auriga as it appears to the unaided eye. Roll mouse over to see labels.
Source: Stellarium.




Color scheme

Brightest Objects in Auriga

Hover the pointer over the name of an object to highlight its position on the starchart to the right, or click to see more information.

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Capella (mag 0.1) NGC 2281 (mag 5.4) NGC 2208 (mag 12.6)
Menkalinan (mag 1.9) Messier 37 (mag 5.6) NGC 2303 (mag 14.0)
θ-Aur (mag 2.6) Messier 36 (mag 6.0) IC 2190 (mag 14.7)
ι-Aur (mag 2.7) Messier 38 (mag 6.4) NGC 2387 (mag 16.5)
ε-Aur (mag 3.0) NGC 1857 (mag 7.0)
η-Aur (mag 3.2) NGC 1893 (mag 7.5)
δ-Aur (mag 3.7) NGC 1664 (mag 7.6)
ζ-Aur (mag 3.8) NGC 1778 (mag 7.7)
ν-Aur (mag 4.0) NGC 1907 (mag 8.2)
κ-Aur (mag 4.3) NGC 1931 (mag 10.1)
π-Aur (mag 4.3) NGC 2126 (mag 10.2)
τ-Aur (mag 4.5) NGC 2192 (mag 10.9)
16-Aur (mag 4.6) NGC 1883 (mag 12.0)
λ-Aur (mag 4.7) NGC 1798
χ-Aur (mag 4.7) NGC 1790
υ-Aur (mag 4.7) NGC 1896
2-Aur (mag 4.8) NGC 2013
ψ²-Aur (mag 4.8) NGC 2165
μ-Aur (mag 4.8) NGC 2240
63-Aur (mag 4.9) NGC 1724
ψ¹-Aur (mag 4.9)
ξ-Aur (mag 5.0)
ψ⁷-Aur (mag 5.0)
9-Aur (mag 5.0)
ω-Aur (mag 5.0)
KW Aur (mag 5.0)
σ-Aur (mag 5.0)
ψ⁴-Aur (mag 5.0)
19-Aur (mag 5.0)
φ-Aur (mag 5.1)
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