Scorpius is one of the oldest constellations. It was first called “The Scorpion” about 5000 years ago by the Sumerians. It is also one of the original 48 constellations catalogued by Ptolemy in the 2nd century.
Originally the Scorpius constellation was much larger and included the area now known as Libra. Libra was said the represent the claws of the scorpion.
Scorpius (also called Scorpio) is a bright constellation in the southern skies most visible to latitudes from the southern hemisphere to about 40° north at the end of July.
Antares, the Alpha, is a 1 magnitude red star, so named because Antares was the rival of Mars, also red in color. Antares is the heart of the Scorpion. Shaula, Lambda Scorpii, is a 1.6 magnitude star and is the tail. Scorpio contains many large clusters and nebulae easily seen with binoculars.
Scorpius is situated southward and east of Libra and is on the meridian about the tenth of July, right after the Corona Borealis by about fifty minutes if anyone should happen to ask you.
The constellations Ara, Corona Australis, Libra, Lupus, Ophiuchus and Sagittarius share a border with the Scorpius constellation
Right Ascension: 04:50
Diameter (°): 22
Area (square °): 497
Opposition: Jun 04
Size Rank: 33rd
Brightness Rank: 5th
Major stars in Scorpius
Antares – α Scorpii (Alpha Scorpii)
Shaula – λ Scorpii (Lambda Scorpii)
Acrab (Graffias) – β Scorpii (Beta Scorpii)
Dschubba – δ Scorpii (Delta Scorpii)
Sargas – θ Scorpii (Theta Scorpii)
Larawag – ε Scorpii (Epsilon Scorpii)
Girtab – κ Scorpii (Kappa Scorpii)
Fang – π Scorpii (Pi Scorpii)
Jabbah – ν Scorpii (Nu Scorpii, 14 Scorpii)
ξ Scorpii (Xi Scorpii)
ι Scorpii (Iota Scorpii)
Alniyat – σ Scorpii (Sigma Scorpii)
Paikauhale – τ Scorpii (Tau Scorpii)
Lesath – υ Scorpii (Upsilon Scorpii)
Jabhat al Akrab – ω Scorpii (Omega Scorpii)
η Scorpii (Eta Scorpii)
Iklil – ρ Scorpii (Rho Scorpii)
ζ Scorpii (Zeta Scorpii)
Xamidimura and Pipirima – μ Scorpii (Mu Scorpii)
Gliese 667 (142 G. Scorpii)
Pismis 24-1 (HDE 319718)
Deep Sky Objects in Scorpius
Messier 4 (M4, NGC 6121)
Butterfly Cluster – Messier 6 (M6, NGC 6405)
Ptolemy Cluster – Messier 7 (M7, NGC 6475)
Messier 80 (NGC 6093)
Cat’s Paw Nebula (Bear Claw Nebula) – NGC 6334 (Gum 64)
Butterfly Nebula (Bug Nebula) – NGC 6302 (Caldwell 69)
NGC 6124 (Caldwell 75)
Northern Jewel Box Cluster – NGC 6231
War and Peace Nebula – NGC 6357
Mythology of the Constellation Scorpius
The constellation Scorpius rises in the east just as Orion slips behind the western horizon, as if it is chasing the Hunter away. Legend has it that the hunter Orion was boastful and claimed he could slay any wild beast.
It is said that Scorpius is the scorpion who fought with and stung Orion. In one variation of the story, Apollo, was worried about his sister Artemis’ chastity. To protect his sister, he sent the scorpion to attack Orion.
Other myths say Orion the Hunter attempted to ravish Artemis so she sent the scorpion to slay him. Scorpio and Orion were placed as far away from each other as possible in the heavens to avoid any further battles.
According to Ovid, this famous scorpion sprang from the earth at the command of the imperious Juno and fatally stung Orion to punish the hunter’s vanity for boasting that there was no animal on earth he couldn’t conquer.
This sign was represented in ancient times by various symbols, sometimes as a snake or crocodile. Most commonly it was depicted as a scorpion as found on the Mithraic monuments before 200 B.C. Evidence exists that these monuments were constructed when the vernal equinox occurred in Taurus.
The Egyptians, or Chaldeans, who first arranged the zodiac, might have placed the scorpion here to denote that when the sun enters this sign the diseases incident to the fruit season would prevail.
Autumn abounded in fruit but also brought the demise of summer. It often brought with it a great variety of diseases. It seems fitting to represent this season with the venomous scorpion which wounds with a sting of its tail.
It has been known as the constellation of the Apostle Bartholomew.
In China it was Ta Who, great fire and later, Tien He, the celestial Scorpion.
In the Hebrew zodiac this sign is allotted to Dan because it is written, “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the Path.”
Sun Enters: October 24
Sun Leaves: November 21
Positives: Purposeful, discerning, subtle, persistent, very imaginative, resourceful, emotional
Negatives: Obstinate, suspicious, secretive, jealous, stubborn, crafty
As a Child: Demanding
Plant: Water lily