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Sagittarius (archer)

Location: Zodiac constellation, visible in both hemispheres
Right Ascension: 19h
Declination: -25º
Source: Greek mythology, related to or derived from Sumerian and Babylonian myths, also Arab
Sagittarius Constellation

The story behind the name: The constellations that are included in the Zodiac - the 12 constellations recognized by Babylonian astronomers through which our Sun, moon, and planets appeared to travel during the course of a year - are considered to be among the oldest sky patterns recognized by human civilizations. They were thought to have more significance because they were touched by the Sun. In Greek mythology, Sagittarius is commonly thought to represent a centaur, a war-like creature with the torso of a man and the body of a horse. Sagittarius is most often associated with Crotus, the son of Pan (the goat-god) and Eupheme (the Muses' nurse). Crotus, who was raised by the Muses, became a skilled hunter who also absorbed a love of the arts from the Muses.

Johannes Hevelius' Sagittarius from Uranographia (1690)

The Muses begged Zeus to honor him with a constellation.

The constellation was also known to earlier civilizations in the Middle East. Several civilizations in the Mesopotamian area associated the constellation with their god of war, variants of the archer-god Nergal. The Arabs named a number of prominent stars in the constellation after parts of a human body and parts of a bow and arrow, indicating that they too associated this constellation with an archer.

Introduction to Constellations | Constellation Sources | Constellations Index

Objects observed by Chandra in Sagittarius: