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Scorpius - the Scorpion


Mythology - When Orion boasted to the gods that he had killed every wild creature on Crete, Apollo sent a scorpion to kill him. Although this didn't work directly, Orion ended up chasing the scorpion into the sea where he was killed by an arrow fired by Artemis, wrongfully thinking his head was a log. The gods placed Orion and the scorpion on opposite sides of the sky so they would never be above the horizon at the same time. As Orion rises, Scorpius sets and vice-versa. According to South Pacific mythology, the great god Maui brought forth the islands from the sea using a giant fishhook. This constellation represents that fishhook and is often worn round the neck by antipodeans.
Stars - Look for the baleful red glare of Antares the heart of the Scorpion. Sometimes when Mars moves through Scorpius it can be difficult to tell these two apart. This is an example of a red supergiant star with a diameter of about 4 A.U.s. Telescopes show it to be embedded in a cloud of glowing gas and dust. Acrab (beta scorpii) is a good double star for modest telescopes.
Deepsky - Scorpius is a good hunting ground for clusters. Binoculars will allow you will find the bright globulars M4 and M80 but these are rarely seen very high above the horizon. Even lower down are two galactic clusters M6 and M7 (just above the sting), but these are out of sight for UK observers.
Visibility - UK observers will not see the whole of Scorpius, it will get cut off below epsilon scorpii, but holidays may take you to places in Europe where the whole of the tail can be seen. The best time to see Scorpius is in July and August