The Deep Photographic Guide to the

The constellation of the month


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Latin: Capricornus (Cap)
English: Goat Spanish: Capricornio
German: Steinbock French: Capricorne

Shown is the constellation of Capricornus (see lines) which for mid northern hemisphere observers never climbs high above the southern horizon. Neighboring constellations are Sagittarius to the west (right), Aquila to the north (top), and Aquarius to the north and east (top and left).

In mid of August Capricornus culminates at about 23:30 LT (11:30 pm). The declination of the constellation borders ranges from -28 to -8 degrees. Brightest star is Algedi, alpha Cap, seen at the upper right. Algedi is an optical double star i.e. the two components are aligned by chance along the line of sight. The two stars have magnitudes of 3.5 and 4 and can be separated already by naked eye (6,4' separation).

The center of our galaxy is quite close in the neighboring constellation of Sagittarius. However, we don't look into the plane of our galaxy and therefore don't find open star clusters or bright emission nebulae in Capricornus. But the globular star clusters distribution is sphericaly concentrated around the galactic center and not restricted to the plane of our galaxy. So a couple of globulars join the shown field and can be found already with a pair of binoculars (see magnifications).

Since the ecliptic crosses Capricornus it is a sign of the zodiac. Frequently the sun, moon and planets are crossing the star field.

© all photographs taken by Till Credner and Sven Kohle