Ophiuchus Constellation: Facts & Myths

Ophiuchus constellation: A constellation is a group of stars, which are considered with imaginary lines, forming a meaningful shape outline. The word constellation itself means a “group of stars” in Latin. There are around 88 recognized constellations, covering the whole celestial sphere. Constellations might refer to mythological Gods and people, animals or mythological creatures.

Ophiuchus is a constellation located in the celestial equator. Its bordering constellations are HerculesLibraSerpensScorpiusAquila, and Sagittarius. The constellation is named after the Greek God; “serpent bearer”. It symbolizes a man grasping a snake. The constellation was also a part of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy in the 2nd century and remains in the modern constellation list of 88 constellations as well.

  • Location of the constellation

Lies in the north west of the center of the Milky way, the constellation is located in the celestial equator belt. It is mainly located between the AquilaHercules and the Serpens. It is said to be visible in the northern hemisphere in the summers. It can be located opposite to Orion. A perfect description of the location mainly depends on the changes in atmospheric pressure. The constellation bestrides the equator but lies typically in the south. The brightest star of the constellation, the Rasalhague, is visible north of 78° north latitude. The southward declination of the constellation is -30°.

The constellation lies in the period of November to January. It can be seen in countries lying on the equator in the month of June around midnight and in October in the evening sky. Low in the south, the Rasalhague is visible in the winter months for a few hours at the time of twilight.

Ophiuchus as a zodiac

The zodiac chain is the one which forms the celestial equator and thus is called the “13th zodiac”. The Ophiuchus is the thirteenth constellation that crosses the ecliptic. Ecliptic is that path which the sun follows in the celestial sphere over the course of a year. This constellation actually creates a confusion because the ecliptic part is divided into 12 parts on an average sign span of 30° celestial longitude between each zodiac. It is the approx. distance covered by the sun in a month.

Constellations are typically unequal and a rebased on the stars. The constellations of zodiac thus create a confusion and only have a loses association with the signs of the zodiac. The way the Aquarius in the western astrology largely coincides with Pisces, the constellation Ophiuchus also covers a major part of the zodiac Sagittarius. The sign Sagittarius lies between November 23 to December 21 whereas this constellation lies between November 29 to December 18.

When people hear about zodiac, they just know about the twelve sun signs. So, here an addition to your knowledge, we have the thirteenth one too in the horoscope category. The constellation will thus take a slice of the time frame of Sagittarius. There exist numerous arguments between the astrologers regarding the new zodiac issue which is basically new to human knowledge but has existed in the elliptical sphere since times unknown. The debate still continues whether to consider this constellation as a zodiac or not. Till date, it is considered as a part of not the zodiac family but the Hercules family.

  • Stars

The constellation consists of many prominent stars. The Rasalhague being the brightest one and is also called “the head of the serpent charmer”. The other important stars include the Eta Ophiuchi or the Sabik (“the preceding one”), the Cebalrai, the Marfiq (“the elbow”), etc. The Barnard’s star, one of the nearest star to the solar system is also a part of this constellation. There also exists a superbubble or supershell, extending beyond the plains of the galaxy known as the Ophiuchus superbubble and was discovered in the year 2005. The constellation also includes 5 stars with planets.

The important or major stars of the constellation are:

  1. Rasalhague – α Ophiuchi (Alpha Ophiuchi)
  2. Celbalrai – β Ophiuchi (Beta Ophiuchi)
  3. θ Ophiuchi (Theta Ophiuchi)
  4. Yed Prior – δ Ophiuchi (Delta Ophiuchi)
  5. Sabik – η Ophiuchi (Eta Ophiuchi)
  6. ζ Ophiuchi (Zeta Ophiuchi), etc.
  • Deep sky objects

The constellation includes several groups of stars or star clusters such as the Messier 9, Messier 10Messier 12Messier 14Messier 19Messier 62, and Messier 107.

Now you have some real information about the constellation Ophiuchus.