Sagitta

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Sagitta is a constellation. Its name is Latin for "arrow", and it should not be confused with the larger constellation Sagittarius, the archer. Although ancient, it is insignificant, for it has no star brighter than the 4th magnitude and is the third smallest of all constellations (only Equuleus and Crux are smaller). It was included among the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union. Located not very far to the north of the equator, this constellation can be seen from everywhere on Earth except for within the Antarctic circle.

Sagitta lies within the Milky Way and is bordered by the following constellations (beginning at the north and then continuing clockwise): the little fox Vulpecula, the mythological hero Hercules, the eagle Aquila and the dolphin Delphinus.

Contents

Notable features

Stars

The following are some of Sagitta's brightest stars:

  • α Sge: also known as Sham, this yellow bright giant star of spectral class G1 II (with 4.37m) lies at a distance of 610 light-years and together with β Sge (also 4.37m) forms either the feathers of the shaft or the two-pointed arrow once used in the Roman army.
  • γ Sge: this cool giant (M0 III, 3.47m) represents with the stars δ Sge and ε Sge the shaft. It lies at a distance of merely 170 light-years.
  • δ Sge: M2 II+A0 V (suspected visual double; probably single image, composite spectrum), 3.82m
  • ε Sge: G8 III, 5.66m, multiple star (4 components; component B is optical)
  • η Sge: this star of spectral class K2 III with 5.1m belongs to the Hyades moving group.

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