Constellation Sagittarius The Archer Blog Post


Constellation Sagittarius The Archer

Join us on an epic journey as we unravel the secrets of the constellation Sagittarius, the half man, half horse centaur. Learn the mythology and science behind this August constellation.

Symbolism: Sagittarius represents a centaur, which is a half human, half horse creature with the torso of a man aiming an arrow toward the heart of neighboring Scorpio, the scorpion.

 Mythology:  There are two competing myths associated with Sagittarius.  One identifies this constellation not as a centaur but as the satyr, Crotus.  A satyr is a half-man, half-goat.  Crotus was the son of Pan (the goat-god) and Eupheme (the Muses’ nurse). The arrow in this constellation points towards the scorpion constellation, Scorpius.  It is said that Sagittarius is protecting Orion who is about to be attacked by Scorpius. In another Greek myth, Sagittarius is commonly thought to represent the centaur Chiron, a war-like creature with the torso of a man and the body of a horse. He was a skilled archer, musician, and physician. However, one day Chiron was accidentally shot by Hercules with an arrow that had been dipped in the poison of Hydra. 

 When is it visible? The constellation is visible at latitudes between +55° and −90° and in the northern hemisphere is best viewed during the month of August at 9.00pm. In the southern hemisphere, it is best viewed in the winter.

How to find it? You can find Sagittarius low on the southern horizon during summer.  The constellation resides on one side of the Milky Way, while Scorpius the scorpion resides on the other.

 History and Science: Sagittarius is an exciting constellation to explore, offering the amazing Lagoon Nebula and the Omega Nebula. It is the largest constellation in the Southern Hemisphere. The constellation was known to Babylonians and Greeks, plus 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.

You can name a star for a friend or loved one in any of these constellations by visiting Name a Star.

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