Scorpius the Scorpion

Mythology

Scorpius is the legendary killer of Orion. Orion was a great hunter who bragged about his skills until the gods grew tired of his boasting. The scorpion was sent to punish Orion, who never thought of such a small creature as a threat. Once he was stung, it was too late. Both were placed in the sky although Orion's last wish was that he never be in the sky as the same time as the scorpion. Thus, Scorpius rule the northern hemisphere's summer while Orion rules the winter skies.

For the Observer

The Stars of Summer

Alpha Scorpii, Antares (16h 29m -26°26') The meaning of Antares is "the rival of Mars" and it is quite fitting for this noticeably ruddy colored star. Antares has a magnitude of 1.0 and is a class M1 supergiant. The star is also a pulsating variable, ranging from 0.9 to 1.8 over a period of 4 years and 9 months. Antares also has a blue-white 5th magnitude companion.

Beta Scorpii,Graffias (16h 05m -19°48') This is one of the best binary systems to be seen. Graffias has a magnitude of 2.6 and is a blue-white main sequence class B star. The companion has a magnitude of 4.9 and is the same type star as Graffias. The pair is 600 light years distant.

Delta Scorpii, Dschubba (16h 00m -22°37') is a 2.3 magnitude blue-white class B0 star. Its distance is about 600 light years.

Eta Scorpii (17h 12.0m -43°14') is a 3.3 magnitude class F2 star about 70 light years distant.

M4 (NGC 6121) (16h 20.6m -26°24') a globular cluster with a magnitude of 6.5 It is one of the largest globulars to be seen, and one of the easiest to find. It is a loose cluster and even a 4 inch scope will show individual stars.

M6 (NGC 6405) (17h 36.8m -32°11') Galactic star cluster of about 50 stars. It has a magnitude of 6.0 It is an excellent object for small scopes.

M7 (NGC 6475) (17h 50.7m -34°48') is a very large and bright galactic cluster. At magnitude 5 it is an easy naked eye object in dark skies. There are about 50 stars in the cluster. A small telescope will show individual stars with a beautiful background of Milky Way.

M62 (NGC 6266) (NGC 62°66) An irregular globular star cluster of magnitude 6.5

M80 (NGC 6093) (16h 14.1m -22°52') This is a small bright globular cluster of magnitude 8.


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Kathy Miles, Author, and Chuck Peters, Systems Administrator
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