Capricornus

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Capricornus is one of the constellations of the zodiac; it is often called Capricorn, especially when referring to the corresponding astrological sign. Its name is Latin for "horned male goat" or "goat horn", and it is commonly represented in the form of a sea-goat: a mythical creature that is half goat, half shark. Its symbol is Capricorn symbol 2.png (Unicode ♑).

Capricornus is one of the 88 modern constellations, and was also one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. Under its modern boundaries it is bordered by Aquila, Sagittarius, Microscopium, Piscis Austrinus and Aquarius. The constellation is located in an area of sky called the Sea or Water, consisting of many water-related constellations such as Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus.

Contents

Notable features

Capricornus is the second faintest constellation in the zodiac after Cancer. Its brighter stars are found on a triangle whose vertices are α2 Capricorni (Giedi), δ Capricorni (Deneb Algiedi), and ω Capricorni.

Deep sky objects

Capricorn has several galaxies and clusters. Messier 30 is a globular cluster located 1 degree south of the galaxy group NGC 7103. The constellation also harbors the wide spiral galaxy NGC 6907.

Named stars

History

Despite its faintness, Capricornus has one of the oldest mythological associations, having been consistently represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age. First attested in depictions on a cylinder-seal circa 21st century BCE,[1] from the mid second Millennium it became a popular motif on boundary stones.[2] It was explicitly recorded in the Babylonian star catalogues as MULSUḪUR.MAŠ "The Goat-Fish" before 1000 BC. The constellation was a symbol of Ea and in the Early Bronze Age marked the winter solstice.[3]

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