Constellation Lupus (Wolf)

Lupus: IAU Constellation Map [150]


The constellation Lupus stands in a branch of the Milky Way ribbon, south of Libra, the claws of Scorpio and east of Centaurus. The area of the constellation is 334 square degrees and the center culminates around midnight on May 9th. [9, 15]

Data for constellation Lupus [150]
IAU NameLupus
IAU GenitiveLupi
IAU Abbr.Lup
English NameWolf
Opposition12 May
Season (47° N)April … May
Right Ascension14h 17m 48s … 16h 08m 37s
Declination-55° 34' 48" … -29° 50' 16"
Area334 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)Lib, Hya, Cen, Cir, Nor, Sco


Constellation Lupus
Constellation Lupus: Illustration from «Uranometria» by Johann Bayer, copper engraving by Alexander Mair, 1603 [28]

Mythologie und Geschichte

According to a story by Eratostenes, Lupus is the bloodthirsty King Lykaon of Arcadia. He is said to have killed almost all of his numerous sons. Zeus had a son named Arkas with Lykaon's daughter. One day Zeus was invited to dinner in the palace of the Lykaon. To check whether the guest really was the mighty Zeus, Lykaon cut up his son-in-law Arkas and served him as a meal for Zeus. However, Zeus immediately recognized the flesh of his poor son and, in a furious rage, knocked over the table, killed Lycaon's sons with a lightning bolt, and turned Lykaon himself into a wolf. Then Zeus put the parts of his son back together and handed him over to the Pleiade Maia, who raised him. The centaur Chiron now holds Lycaon, transformed into a wolf, in check for all eternity. [20]

Dr. House
Dr. House: It's not lupus. It's never lupus.

According to [7], the Greeks and Romans saw Lupus as an unspecified wild animal that Centaurus should sacrifice to the gods. The identification with a wolf apparently only occurred in the age of the Renaissance.


  • [7] «Der grosse Kosmos-Himmelsführer» von Ian Ridpath und Wil Tirion; Kosmos Verlag; ISBN 3-440-05787-9
  • [9] «Drehbare Sternkarte SIRIUS» von H. Suter-Haug; Hallwag-Verlag, Bern
  • [15] «Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes» by David Malin and David J. Frew; Melbourne University Press 1995; ISBN 0-522-84553-3
  • [20] «Sternbilder und ihre Mythen» von Gerhard Fasching; Zweite, verbesserte Auflage; Springer Verlag Wien, New York; ISBN 3-211-82552-5 (Wien); ISBN 0-387-82552-5 (New York)
  • [28] «Uranometria omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata aereis laminis expressa» Johann Bayer, Augsburg, 1603; DOI:10.3931/e-rara-309
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020;