Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
an archer, a dolphin and a goat

In last month’s featured constellations, we talked about the Summer Triangle, Scorpio, and Scutum.

This month we will talk about Sagittarius, Capricorn and Delfino. Last month’s constellations are included in the sky map below for reference.

Sky map for August

Delfinus the dolphin

Delphinus is one of those constellations that really looks like what it’s supposed to be. It is easy to see the silhouette of a dolphin jumping on the surface of an ocean.

Letter from Delphi.

There are two stories that talk about Delphinus. In one, Poseidon sends the dolphin as a messenger to woo his future wife.

In another story, Delphinus is the real-life savior of Arion, who was thrown overboard by companions who wanted to steal his money. A final song from his lute attracted a group of dolphins, one of which rescued Arion from the sea.

Delphinus has a beautiful double star, Gamma Delphini, which marks the dolphin’s nose. A small telescope reveals two colorful stars orbiting each other.

Capricorn the goat fish

Unlike the aptly named Delphinus the Dolphin, Capricornus doesn’t look like a goat or a fish.

However, the origins of this constellation are among the oldest known, dating back to ancient Sumerian and Babylonian times.

In Greek times, this constellation was associated with Pan, god of the countryside. He could instill “panic” with his loud calls.

Sagittarius the Archer (or the tea/coffee maker)

Sagittarius is destined to be an archer mounted on his horse. This is not to be confused with a centaur, which is half horse and half human, and is also often associated with a bow and arrows.

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From our northern latitudes, it is difficult to see the horse part of this constellation, as it is usually close to the tree line. As a result, most northern residents see a teapot or coffee maker as shown in our diagram.

When we look towards Sagittarius, we are looking towards the center of our galaxy. In fact, the center is just up and away from the spout of the teapot.

Astronomers have observed a lot of evidence supporting the existence of a supermassive black hole at the center, which they call Sagittarius A. This black hole has the mass of more than four million suns!

But do not worry; We are far enough away that it has little effect on us.

Do you want more information on what to wear this month?

Check out our “Eyes in the Sky” series.