Constellations of the Southern Winter Help
Constellations of Southern Winter—Hercules
Near the northern horizon, or just a little west of due north, is a moderately dim group of stars forming a trapezoid with limbs (Fig. 3-19). This is Hercules , the warrior. His nemesis, Draco , is mostly out of sight below the horizon. The well-known globular cluster M13 is in this constellation, although from the southern temperate latitudes the viewing is somewhat less favorable than it is from northern locations.
High in the eastern sky is Capricornus (also called Capricorn ), the goat (Fig. 3-20). This goat has the tail of a fish, according to the myths, and dwells at sea. Ancient Greek mythology held that on its way to heaven after death of the body, the human soul would pass through this constellation.
Near the zenith, you will see Sagittarius, the centaur (Fig. 3-21). Sagittarius lies in the direction of the densest part of our galaxy. If it were not for interstellar dust, which is concentrated along the plane of the Milky Way, this constellation and those near it would be obscured by the brilliance of the galactic core.
Just to the west of Sagittarius, also near the zenith, is Scorpius (also called Scorpio ), the scorpion (Fig. 3-22). This constellation is one of the few that bears some resemblance to the animal or object it represents. The eye of the scorpion is the red giant star Antares , which varies in brightness.
Ophiuchus And Serpens
High in the northwestern sky are the constellations Ophiuchus , the snake bearer, and Serpens , the snake (Fig. 3-23). As with most of the other constellations near the celestial equator, these two are inverted with respect to their appearance as seen from the northern hemisphere.
Lyra, Cygnus, And Aquila
Low in the northern sky you will see the bright star Vega , flanked by a small parallelogram of dimmer stars. The quadrilateral forms the constellation Lyra , the lyre. To the right of Vega, grazing the horizon, is another bright star, Deneb , that is at the tip of the tail of Cygnus , the swan. Above and slightly to the right of Deneb is a third bright star, Altair . This is part of the constellation Aquila (Fig. 3-24). In the northern hemisphere, these three stars stand high in the sky and are sometimes called the summer triangle . However, in the southern hemisphere they have no special distinction apart from their relative brilliance.
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