Name a Star in the Ophiucus Constellation

Modified: July 1, 2023     Author: International Star Registry

International Star registry 45th anniversary logo surrounded by stars.

Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, covers a large area on the elliptical path of the sun. It is the only constellation not universally identified as a zodiac sign that does this. It is situated prominently between Libra and Scorpius. Some people would like to make Ophiuchus the 13th sign of the zodiac, but the original 12 have a long tradition and history. Another unique quality of Ophiuchus is that it bisects the snake constellation, Serpens. The resulting halves are known as Serpens Caput (the tail), and Serpens Cauda (The head). 

The Alpha star of Ophiuchus is “Ras Alhague”, in Arabic meaning the “head of the snake charmer”. Barnard’s star is the fourth closest star to our sun and is only about 6 light years away. It is a 9.54 magnitude red dwarf star. The Ophiuchus constellation should be visible from Greenland to the northern edge of Antarctica, or 80°N – 80°S. Visibility is shortened in the far north due to the summer evening sun. Constellations sharing a border with Ophiuchus are Aquila, Hercules, Libra, Sagittarius, Scorpius, and Serpens. 

Symbol: Oph 

Right Ascension: 05:14 

Declination: -4 

Diameter (°): 30 

Area (square °): 948 

Opposition: Jun 10 

Size Rank: 11st 

Brightness Rank: 20th 

Genitive: Ophiuchi  


Major or notable stars in Ophiuchus 

Rasalhague – α Ophiuchi (Alpha Ophiuchi) 

Sabik – η Ophiuchi (Eta Ophiuchi) 

ζ Ophiuchi (Zeta Ophiuchi) 

Yed Prior – δ Ophiuchi (Delta Ophiuchi) 

Celbalrai – β Ophiuchi (Beta Ophiuchi) 

κ Ophiuchi (Kappa Ophiuchi) 

Yed Posterior – ε Ophiuchi (Epsilon Ophiuchi) 

θ Ophiuchi (Theta Ophiuchi) 

Sinistra – ν Ophiuchi (Nu Ophiuchi) 

γ Ophiuchi – Gamma Ophiuchi 

Marfik – λ Ophiuchi (Lambda Ophiuchi) 

67 Ophiuchi 

70 Ophiuchi 

χ Ophiuchi (Chi Ophiuchi) 

36 Ophiuchi 

51 Ophiuchi 

12 Ophiuchi 

Barnard’s Star 

GJ 1214 

Wolf 1061 

Kepler’s Supernova – Supernova 1604 

RS Ophiuchi 



Deep Sky Objects in Ophiuchus 

Messier 9 (M9, NGC 6333) 

Messier 10 (M10, NGC 6254) 

Messier 12 (M12, NGC 6218) 

Messier 14 (M14, NGC 6402) 

Messier 19 (M19, NGC 6273) 

Messier 62 (M62, NGC 6266) 

Messier 107 (M107, NGC 6171) 

NGC 6240 

IC 4665 

Barnard 68 

NGC 6572 

IC 4603-4604 

Little Ghost Nebula (NGC 6369) 

Dark Horse Nebula 

Pipe Nebula – Barnard 59 

Snake Nebula – Barnard 72 

Twin Jet Nebula (Minkowski’s Butterfly) – Planetary Nebula M2-9 

Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex 

NGC 6633 

Palomar 6 

NGC 6304   


Mythology of the Constellation Ophiuchus 

The constellation Ophiuchus, the “Serpent Bearer”, is also called Asclepius, the son of Apollo. He was the first physician of human form and gained fame by joining Jason and the Argonauts. This is considered the favorite constellation to buy a star package to name a star for a doctor or medical professional. It is said that Chiron the benevolent Centaur was given the care of Ophiuchus by Apollo. Chiron is said to have instructed the boy in the art of healing and restoring life to the dead. Several tales have been told about his ability to restore life. 

One tale about Ophiuchus tells how he learned the secrets of life accidentally. After killing a snake by strangulation, the snake’s mate appeared with an herb in its mouth. When the second snake gave some of this herb to the dead snake, life was restored. When Ophiuchus saw what had happened, he used the same medicinal herb to restore the life of young prince Glaucus.  From that point on Ophiuchus was blessed with the ability to restore life. 

Another myth says he was given blood from the veins on the right side of the Gorgon, Medusa. Although the blood on the left side of Medusa were poison, the blood on the right was said to restore life. Ophiuchus’ ability to restore life did not go unnoticed. Zeus and his brother Hades saw that Ophiuchus could destroy the delicate balance between life and death with his powers. Zeus struck him down with a bolt of lightning to prevent him from giving mankind immortality. Because Ophiuchus helped so many, Zeus rewarded him with a place among the stars. The serpent in the hand of Ophiuchus remains today as the symbol of medicine, called the “Caduceus”. 



Q. What are the brightest stars in Ophiuchus? 

A. The brightest stars in Ophiuchus include α Ophiuchi, called Rasalhague (“head of the serpent charmer”), at magnitude 2.07, and η Ophiuchi, known as Sabik (“the preceding one”), at magnitude 2.43.[6] Alpha Ophiuchi is composed of an A-type giant star [7] RS Ophiuchi is part of a class called recurrent novae, whose brightness increase at irregular intervals by hundreds of times in a period of just a few days.  

Q. What is a lled recurrent novae? 

A. RS Ophiuchi is part of a class called recurrent novae, whose brightness increase at irregular intervals by hundreds of times in a period of just a few days. 

Q. What is Ophiuchus? 

A. Ophiuchus is the 11th largest constellation in the sky, occupying an area of 948 square degrees. 

Shopping Cart