Constellation of Capricornus
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Capricornus
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Image and text ©2008 Akira Fujii/David Malin Images.

In the picture above, north is at the top and the image covers 28.5 x 35.6 degrees.
Image centre is located at 20:52:40.8, -20:03:07 (H:M:S, D:M:S, J2000) Astrometric data from Astrometry.net.


Capricornus (Capricorn)
Best seen in the early evening in September

Capricornus (the Sea Goat, Capricorn to astrologers) is one of the more surprising mythical creatures projected on the sky, a male goat with the tail of a fish. However, adjoining Aquarius and Piscis Austrinus, it is in a particularly watery part of the sky. The orientation of this strange creature is set by its brightest star, Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap, the Goat's tail), while Algedi (or Giedi, α Cap) simply means goat or ibex.

Though it is not particularly conspicuous the constellation is of ancient lineage, predating the ancient Greeks, perhaps because in ancient times the northern Winter Solstice occured in Capricornus. Because of precession, it is now in Aquarius though the idea is preserved in the Tropic of Capricorn which is the line around the northern hemisphere globe where the Sun is directly overhead at noon in mid-winter (see also Tropic of Cancer).

Named stars in Capricornus: (Greek alphabet)
Algedi (α1,2 Cap), Baten Algiedi (ω Cap), Dabih, (β Cap), Deneb Algedi (δ Cap), Dorsum (θ Cap), Marakk (ζ Cap), Nashira (γ Cap), Pazan (ψ Cap).

Adjoining constellations: Aquarius, Aquila, Microscopium, Piscis Austinus, Sagittarius.

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David Malin, 2015 February 27.