Zodiac

  • Tau - Taurus the Bull

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    17 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Taurus the Bull is easily spotted. Its head is the Hyades, a V-shaped cluster of stars. His horns point outward from the V. Aldebaran is the red eye of the Bull as he charges down upon us.

    Taurus is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.
    Biblical references: The Pleiades are mentioned in Job 9:7-9 and Job 38:31-33, and Amos 5:8. Other constellations alluded to in the Bible are Ursa Major and Orion.

    Skylore and Literature

  • Aqr - Aquarius the Water Carrier

    Size

    10 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Water jar pattern. Near Pegasus.

    An ancient Babylonian constellation which contained the September equinox in the fourth millenium B.C. Aquarius is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

    M2 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.4.

    M72 (Globular cluster), mag. 9.3.

    M73 (Galactic cluster), mag. 9.1.

     

     

  • Ari - Aries the Ram

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    39 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    A small zodiac constellation with only two easily visible stars.

     

    Skylore and Literature:  A ram with Golden Fleece, which could fly through the air.

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

     

  • Cnc - Cancer the Crab

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    31 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    A faint constellation between Gemini and Leo.

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

    Sent by Juno to kill Hercules, who squashed it with his foot.

     

    Asterisms

    Asses and the Manger

     

    Star Clusters

    M44, Praesepe or Beehive (Galactic cluster), mag. 3.9.
    M67 (Galactic cluster), mag. 6.1.

     

    Galaxies

    Look with binoculars for the Beehive star cluster, faintly visible to the naked eye.

     

     

     

     

  • Cap - Capricornus the Sea Goat

    Size

    40 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Between Sagittarius and Aquarius. Dim stars; look for laughing mouth.

    Pan only partly succeeded in turning himself from a goat into a fish. Ancient autumnal equinox location.

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

     

    Star Clusters:  M30 (Globular cluster), mag. 7.7.

     

  • Gem - Gemini the Twins

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    30 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Look for the two bright stars, Castor and Pollux, which form one vertex of the Winter Hexagon. Castor is closer to Capella, in Auriga on the north; and Pollus is closer to Procyon, in Canis Minor on the south. Cancer and Leo lie to the east.

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

     

  • Leo - Leo the Lion

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    12 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    East of the Gemini twins lies Leo the Lion. Find the bowl of the Big Dipper. From the two stars on the handle-side, trace a line back to Leo and its bright star Regulus.
    Regulus, the star of kings, is the point beneath a backward question mark. This backward question mark, or sickle, represents Leo’s mane.

    His flank is a triangle of stars farther east.

  • Lib - Libra the Balance

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    29 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Libra is the only inanimate object in the zodiac. Originally comprised the claws of the Scorpion, but was detached from Scorpius by the Romans to represent the vernal equinox. Has also been associated with the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is included in the ancient star catalog of Ptolemy, and known as the Claws of the Scorpion in the catlogs of Eudoxos of Knidos and Aratos of Soli.

    Alpha Librae is a double-star resolvable by binoculars.

     

  • Oph - Ophiuchus, the Serpent Handler

    Size

    11 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Between Scorpius and Hercules. Contains Barnard’s star, the third closest star to the earth (after the Sun and Alpha Centauri). Barnard’s star is a dim red dwarf 6 light-years away.

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

    Represents Aesculapius, the Roman god of medicine and healing.

     

    Star Clusters

    M9 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.0.
    M10 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.7.

    M12 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.6.

    M14 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.0.

  • Psc - Pisces the Fishes

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    14 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    South of Pegasus and Andromeda, near Aquarius. Pisces represents two fish tied together by two cords:

    • The western fish, a pentagon of stars just south of Pegasus, is an asterism known as the circlet.
    • The other fish lies on the opposite side of Pegasus, just under Andromeda.

    The brightest star, alpha-Piscium, is known as El-Rischa or the "knot" because it ties the two cords together with the two fish on the opposite ends. Alpha-Piscium lies nestled up next to Mira, a bright variable star of the constellation Cetus the Whale.