Scorpius the Scorpion
A resplendent constellation lying in a rich area of the Milky Way, and packed with exciting objects for users of binoculars and small telescopes. In mythology, Scorpius was the scorpion whose sting killed Orion. And in the sky Orion still flees from the scorpion, for Orion sets below the horizon as the scorpion rises.
Scorpius clearly resembles the creature after which it is named, with a curve of stars forming its stinging tail. Its heart is marked by Antares it is very red in colour.
Originally in ancient Greek times and before Scorpius was a much larger constellation, the stars that once made up its claws have now been used to form the separate constellation of Libra.
Alpha or Antares which means the Rival of Mars, its an irregular variable star varying between magnitude 0.6-1.6 , it is 300 times larger than the Sun . It has a temperature of only 3,500’C and is a M5 supergiant star lying 500 light years away.
Beta or Acrab which means ‘the Scorpion’ has a magnitude 2.5 and is made up of an incredible 6 stars. It is a B0class star with a temperature of 27,000’C and is 400 light years away.
Delta or Dschubba which means ‘Forehead’ lies 440 light years away. Its a B0 star with a temperature of 27,000’C, and normally has a magnitude of 2.3. Dschubba is a gamma Cassiopeia type variable star and in 2000 it reached magnitude 1.5 changing the appearance of Scorpius.
Epsilon magnitude 2.3 spectrum K1 giant with a temperature of 4,500’C and lies 64 light years away.
Theta magnitude 1.9 spectrum F0 supergiant with a temperature of of 7,200’C and is 300 light years away.
Lambda or Shaula which means the ‘Sting’ has a magnitude of 1.6, its a B2 class star with a temperature of 25,000’C and is 570 light years away.
The Messier objects M4,M6 and M7 are visible to the naked eye while M80 require binoculars to see it.