monthly skyguide, free star charts, constellation star charts, sky guide

Auriga - the Charioteer


Mythology- the Charioteer is customarily represented as half man, half snake. This constellation was called the Chariot by the Assyrians. The Greeks called it the Holder of the Reins. Capella, the name of its beautiful golden star represents the goat that suckled the infant Zeus and whose horn Zeus broke off in his play. This horn became the legendary Horn of Plenty, which was filled with whatever its possessor wished. In another story, the accidental child, Erichthonius, was born with his lower body that of a snake. Cared for by Cecrops, another child of Earth's, Erichthonius grew to manhood, shunned by others because of his deformity. Athena pitied the boy and raised him as her own son in the city of Athens. He eventually became king there and developed the four horse chariot.
Deepsky - Three open clusters in Auriga are binocular objects: M36, M37 and M38. They all look like faint misty patches, but a telescope will resolve them into hundreds of stars.
Visibility - Auriga is visible throughout most of the Winter but is best seen around December and January