Sgr - Sagittarius the Archer

Legend for constellation star maps, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), cc-by

Intro and Visual description

Look for teapot pattern to the east of Scorpius, complete with handle, lid, and spout. Tea pouring from the spout would indicate the direction of the center of Milky Way, and the entire constellation is rich with many stars. Try binoculars in the area where clusters gather like steam rising from the teapot.
Sagittarius was a Centaur, the wise Chiron (KIGH-ron), teacher of Hercules and brave in battle. If you cannot see a creature half-man and half-horse in these stars, then try looking for a teapot. Four stars make the pot... Two stars form a handle... One star is a lid... And the tip of the bowman’s arrow makes a spout.

If you look right where tea would pour out of the spout, you are looking toward the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The sky in this direction is filled with stars.

Scan it with binoculars, and you will see cluster after cluster of stars, rising like little clouds of steam above the teapot.

The sun is in Sagittarius at its southernmost point, the winter solstice.

Centaur, half-man and half-horse, shooting an arrow. Chiron, wise and courageous tutor to Hercules, was wounded in a terrible accident by a poison-tipped arrow shot by Hercules. In response to his anguished pleas for mortality to end the pain, Zeus exalted Chiron to the sky. See constellation Sagitta.

Sagittarius is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.




Star Clusters

M17, Omega or Swan Nebula (Galacitc cluster), mag. 7.5.
M18 (Galactic cluster), mag. 7.2.

M21 (Galactic cluster), mag. 6.5.

M22 (Globular cluster), mag. 5.6.

M23 (Galactic cluster), mag. 5.9.

M24 (Galactic cluster), mag. 4.6.

M25 (Galactic cluster), mag. 6.2.

M28 (Globular cluster), mag. 7.6.

M54 (Globular cluster), mag. 7.8.

M55 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.2.

M69 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.0.

M70 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.1.

M75 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.6.



M8, Lagoon Nebula (Diffuse nebula), mag. 5.1
M20, Trifid Nebula (Diffuse nebula), mag. 8.5.




Constellation Info

Abbr: Sgr

Genitive: Sagittarii

Size: 15 of 88

RA: 19 hours

Evening culmination (9 pm): August

Midnight Culmination: July

Decl: -30 degrees

Entirely visible from: S of 45° latitude

Partially visible from: between 45° and 78° latitude

Not visible at all from: N of 78° latitude


Bordering constellations:

Constellation - Names

Arabic: الرامي

Babylonian: PA

Chinese: 人馬座

English: Archer

French: Sagittaire

German: Schütze

Greek: Τοξότης

Hebrew: קשת

Italian: Sagittario

Latin: Sagittarius

Russian: Стрелец

Spanish: Sagitario, Arquero

Related Asterisms