Constellation Scorpius (Scorpion)

Scorpius: IAU Constellation Map [150]


Despite an area of 497 square degrees, Scorpius is a large, bright and impressive constellation and is one of the most beautiful in the sky. It is partially located in the band of the Milky Way, near its center, west of Sagittarius. The outlines of this constellation are very reminiscent of the shape of this animal: the threateningly outstretched claws lie in the constellation Libra; the striking star formation around Antares, the heart of the scorpion, represents the breastplate; even the tail with the poison sting, raised to attack, is indicated by a star bow. The center of the constellation culminates around midnight on June 3rd. [9, 15]

Stars with Proper Names [154]
α Sco Antares, Cor Scorpii, Kalb Al Akrab, Vespertilio
β1 Sco Graffias, Grafias, Grassias, Acrab, Akrab, Elacrab
δ Sco Dschubba, Iclarkrau
θ Sco Sargas
λ Sco Shaula
ν Sco Jabbah
σ Sco Alniyat, Al Niyat
υ Sco Lesath, Lesuth
Data for constellation Scorpius [150]
IAU NameScorpius
IAU GenitiveScorpii
IAU Abbr.Sco
English NameScorpion
Opposition1 June
Season (47° N)April … August
Right Ascension15h 47m 15s … 17h 59m 14s
Declination-45° 46' 01" … -08° 17' 45"
Area497 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)Oph, Lib, Lup, Nor, Ara, CrA, Sgr

Deep-Sky Object Descriptions


Ophiuchus Molecular Cloud
Ophiuchus Molecular Cloud: Star forming region with open cluster Collinder 302 with Ophiuchus molecular cloud (Antares Nebula vdB 107, nebula IC 4603, ρ Ophiuchi nebula IC 4604, nebula IC 4605, Sharpless 2-9, many dark clouds), plus globular clusters M 4 and NGC 6144. North is left; Canon EOS 20Da, zoom lens 131 mm f:5.6 ; 145 min @ ISO 1600; Astrofarm Tivoli, Namibia, 1345 m ü. M.; © 5. 6. 2011 Eduard von Bergen, Hansjörg Wälchli [29]

Mythology and History

According to rock carvings in the Caucasus region, the constellation of Scorpio was already in the 3rd millennium BC. Known, but the scorpion also appears in the Orion legend:

Orion was a mighty hunter who knew how to captivate even goddesses in love because of his beautiful figure. Jealousy and resentment were the result, which finally cost the Orion his life. In another version of death, the scorpion plays a role. Gäa, the earth goddess sent Orion a poisonous scorpion because he bragged that there was no animal he could not kill. Orion is said to have died of a scorpion sting, or the Sagittarius came to him just in time Help? As a punishment, the scorpion was moved to a place in the sky that is almost exactly opposite the Orion, so that Orion rises when the scorpion goes down. [20]

Scorpius + Libra
Scorpius + Libra: Complete Scorpius constellation before Caesar, when Scorpio still had claws [265]

The ancient Greeks counted the area, where today the constellation Libra is located, still to Scorpius and saw here the claws of the scorpion. This is the origin of the Arabic names of the stars. During Julius Caesar's lifetime, the Romans separated into this area and formed the independent constellation and zodiac sign Libra.

Indians from central Brazil see the Scorpion as a carrying net for children. Indians from the Rio Negro river basin in northern Brazil see the scorpion as a big snake with a wide open mouth and a twisted body. The bright Antares is the snake's prey to be strangled down. At the end of the tail lies the egg of the snake. [20] The Indians of the North American tribe of the Navajo interpreted the four stars, which form the stache of the scorpion, as the footprint of a running hare. The first appearance of this constellation at dawn heralded the approach of spring. [61, 107]

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


  • [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
  • [29] Astrobin: AstroEdy's Gallery;
  • [61] Eye On The Sky: Scorpius by Deborah Byrd; Astronomy 6/93, p.48
  • [107] Rabbit Tracks by E. C. Krupp; S&T 6/94, p.64
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020;
  • [154] Yale Bright Star Catalog, 15. Oktober 2020;
  • [265] PP3 - Celestial Chart Generation, Torsten Bronger; (2021-02-11)