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Scorpio Constellation, The Scorpion

Scorpio Constellation

Scorpio Constellation

Scorpio Constellation Outline

Scorpio Constellation Outline

The Scorpio constellation is located near the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Like its nearby neighbor Sagittarius, the constellation Scorpio never rises far above the southern horizon (for sky gazer located in the Northern Hemisphere). Within the constellation are ten stars with known planets.

Scorpio Constellation Myths

Scorpio depicts the scorpion that killed Orion the hunter with his stinger. Orion boasted that he could kill any wild animal. After hearing this claim, the Earth sent the scorpion to kill Orion.

Another version of the Greek myth is that the goddess Artemis had sent the scorpion after Orion after he had attempted to ravish her. Because Orion and Scorpio are positioned at opposites from each other, it is said that Orion flees under the horizon whenever Scorpio rises in the sky.

Deep Space Objects in the Scorpio Constellation

The brightest star in the constellation is [7516] alpha Scorpii, better known as Antares. Antares is a giant among giants. Furthermore, if Antares’ center was located where our Sun’s center is, Earth would be located well inside it.

Antares is named after its reddish-orange colour, which resembles that of the planet Mars. Thus the word Antares signifies “like Mars”.

Another interesting fact is that being the eighth sign of the zodiac, Scorpio is on the ecliptic. As a result, Mars and Antares occasionally appear like identical twins quite close together.

Other DSO’s of note:

Below is the Ptolemy Cluster, also known as Messier 7 (NGC 6475). This cluster was named after the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. Most noteworthy is that this open cluster is visible to the naked eye under dark skies and it is nearby the scorpion’s stinger. The cluster is formed of approximately 80 stars.

Ptolemy Cluster, Messier 7 (NGC 6475)

Ptolemy Cluster, Messier 7 (NGC 6475)

One of the closest globular clusters to Earth is Messier 4 (NGC 6121). This cluster is approximately 7,200 light-years away from us. As such, it is fairly easy to find and it can be observed in very small telescopes. Look for it at 1.3 degrees away from Antares.

Globular Cluster, Messier 4 (NGC 6121)

Globular Cluster, Messier 4 (NGC 6121)

Another globular cluster found in the Scorpio constellation is Messier 80 (NGC 6093). Look for it halfway between [7516] alpha and [7522]-[7553] beta Scorpii. What is unique about this cluster is its density. More precisely, it is made up of several hundred thousand stars. In addition, it is amongst the densest globular clusters in the Milky Way.

Globular Cluster, Messier 80 (NGC 6093)

Globular Cluster, Messier 80 (NGC 6093)

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