The sun passes through Sagittarius, the ninth zodiac sign, around January first. It is a southern constellation which lies in the brightest part of the Milky Way. It contains many large stars and famous objects in addition to two asterisms.
The famous Teapot asterism consists of eight large stars in the shape of a teapot. Whimsically, it appears to be “pouring” stars and steam directly into the brightest spot of the Milky Way.
The smaller asterism, Terebellum, is made up of four visible stars and sits outside of the Milky Way. It appears to be riding on the back of the centaur.
Messier, the French astronomer, catalogued fifteen objects, the most famous being the Lagoon Nebula and the Omega Nebula. The finest view of the Milky Way galaxy is the great Sagittarius star cloud, just north of gamma Sagittarius.
The constellations Aquila, Capricornus, Corona Australis, Indus, Microscopium, Ophiuchus, Scutum, Scorpius, Serpens Cauda and Telescopium share a border with Sagittarius.
Right Ascension: 06:50
Diameter (°): 19
Area (square °): 867
Opposition: Jul 03
Size Rank: 15th
Brightness Rank: 12nd
Major stars in Sagittarius
Kaus Australis – ε Sagittarii (Epsilon Sagittarii)
Nunki – σ Sagittarii (Sigma Sagittarii)
Kaus Media – δ Sagittarii (Delta Sagittarii)
Kaus Borealis – λ Sagittarii (Lambda Sagittarii)
Rukbat – α Sagittarii (Alpha Sagittarii)
Arkab – β Sagittarii (Beta Sagittarii)
Ascella – ζ Sagittarii (Zeta Sagittarii)
φ Sagittarii (Phi Sagittarii)
Albaldah – π Sagittarii (Pi Sagittarii)
Alnasl (Nushaba) – γ Sagittarii (Gamma Sagittarii)
τ Sagittarii (Tau Sagittarii)
Sephdar (Ira Furoris) – η Sagittarii (Eta Sagittarii)
Peony Star – WR 102ka
Sakurai’s Object – V4334 Sagittarii
Polis – μ Sagittarii (Mu Sagittarii)
ρ Sagittarii (Rho Sagittarii)
υ Sagittarii (Upsilon Sagittarii)
Ross 154 (V1216 Sagittarii)
Deep Sky Objects in Sagittarius
Lagoon Nebula – Messier 8 (M8, NGC 6523)
Omega Nebula – Messier 17 (M17, NGC 6618, Swan, Horseshoe or Lobster Nebula)
Messier 18 (M18, NGC 6613)
Trifid Nebula – Messier 20 (M20, NGC 6514)
Messier 21 (M21, NGC 6531)
Sagittarius Cluster – Messier 22 (M22, NGC 6656)
Messier 23 (M23, NGC 6494)
Small Sagittarius Star Cloud – Messier 24 (M24, NGC 6603, IC 4715)
Messier 25 (M25, IC 4725)
Messier 28 (M28, NGC 6626)
Messier 54 (M54, NGC 6715)
Messier 55 (M55, NGC 6809)
Messier 69 (M69, NGC 6637)
Messier 70 (M70, NGC 6681)
Messier 75 (M75, NGC 6864)
Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy
Sagittarius Dwarf Irregular Galaxy
Barnard’s Galaxy – NGC 6822 (IC 4895, Caldwell 57)
The Bubble Nebula (Hubble 1925 I)
Little Gem Nebula – NGC 6818
Eye of Sauron Nebula – M 1-42
Henize 3-1475 (IRAS 17423-1755)
Red Spider Nebula – NGC 6537
Box Nebula – NGC 6445
Hurt 2 – 2MASS-GC02
Ruprecht 147 – NGC 6774
Mythology of the Constellation Sagittarius
Sagittarius, the archer, was depicted as a centaur named Chiron. A centaur is a mythological creature half man and half horse. The centaurs, except for Chiron, were known for their generally bad nature.
At the wedding feast of King Pirithous and his bride Hippodamia, the centaurs drank too much wine. One of the drunken centaurs, Eurytion, attempted to steal Hippodamia. Dreadful violence ensued, and many centaurs were slain.
Chiron, unlike the other centaurs, was famous for gentleness and his knowledge of music. In an alternate description by Eratosthenes, he is not a centaur at all, but is the Satyr Cronus, son of Pan. A prophet, a doctor of medicine, and a poet, he was also an expert archer.
Chiron taught mankind the use of plants and medicinal herbs. He and instructed the greatest heroes of his age in all the polite arts. He taught Aesculapius physics, Apollo music, Hercules astronomy, and tutored Achilles, Jason and Aeneas.
According to Ovid, he was mistakenly shot by Hercules for offering an indignity to his newly married bride. The arrow Hercules aimed at the centaur had been dipped in the blood of the monster Hydra, rendering the wound incurable even by the father of medicine himself.
Chiron (Sagittarius) begged Jupiter (Zeus) to make him mortal to relieve him of his excruciating pain. Jupiter granted his request, yet still gave him a place in the night sky among the constellations. Sagittarius’ arrow is always aimed at the treacherous Scorpion’s heart.
This constellation appears in the ancient zodiacs of Egypt, Dendera, Esne and India. It seems conclusive that the Greeks only borrowed the figure though they invented the fable. This is true of many of the ancient constellations; hence the jargon of the conflicting accounts which have descended to us.
Some Christians assign Sagittarius to St. Matthew the Apostle, and others to Ismael, son of Abraham and Hagar. The Chinese call it Seih Nuh, meaning firewood and later as Jin Ma the manhorse. In the Hebrew zodiac, Sagittarius is assigned to Benjamin.
Sun Enters: November 22
Sun Leaves: December 21
Positives: Optimistic, jovial, freedom loving, sincere, dependable, a go-getter, explorer, philosophical
Negatives: Extreme, tactless, capricious, a lack of the amenities, too optimistic
As a Child: Strong willed
Plant: Bird of paradise
Emotional: Witty, nonjudgmental
Career: Teacher, broadcaster