Lore of the Constellations: Scorpius the Scorpion

So far we’ve explored a nice array of constellations that can be found in your Summer night sky.   In the last video, we took a look at Sagittarius and how the centaur was set to aid Orion in case he was attacked by Scorpius the Scorpion.  After all, the arrow in Sagittarius is aimed right at the star Antares, also known as “the heart of the scorpion.”  So, that’s what we’re going to look at today, Scorpius the Scorpion.

Scorpius is a bright constellation and easy to find along the southern horizon.  Its name is Latin for scorpion or it can also be translated to “creature with the burning sting.”

This scorpion can be seen next to Sagittarius, with his arrow pointed at the heart of Scorpius.  But directly above Scorpius is the constellation Orion.

According to the Greek myth, Orion boasted about how great of a hunter he was and how he could kill any animal.  The goddess Artemis, took exception to this and dispatched her scorpion to kill Orion.   Later on, Zeus would place the scorpion in the sky after he had won the battle.

In another related myth, the god Apollo grew angry and sent a scorpion to attack Orion because he claimed to be a better hunter than Artemis, the sister of Apollo.

Well, within this constellation of Scorpius you can find several notable exoplanets—planets discovered outside of our own solar system orbiting around stars other than our sun.

For example, there’s Gliese 667C—a red dwarf star at the center of a solar system with two potentially habitable planets:  Gliese 667Ce and Gliese 667Cf.

Of course, you can also find the bright star Antares within Scorpius.
This is a red supergiant and the 16th brightest star in our night sky.  This star is said to be at the end of its life, having consumed almost all its fuel. Once it does this it may collapse and explode into a supernova.  This star is 604 light-years away from Earth and is 700 times the sun’s diameter.  That’s large enough to engulf the orbit of Mars if our solar system were centered around it.

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