August Constellations

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The five August constellations include some of the most beautiful and well-known objects in the sky. The center of our Milky Way galaxy is located in the direction of Sagittarius. Because of this, Sagittarius contains more notable deep sky objects than any other constellation. An astonishing 15 Messier objects can be found here, including the Omega Nebula, the Lagoon Nebula, and the Trifid Nebula. There are also seven globular clusters here, as well as four open star clusters. Simply pointing a good pair of binoculars in this direction will reveal a treasure trove of amazing sights. Two additional Messier objects can be found in Lyra, including the famous Ring Nebula, a rainbow-colored shell of gas illuminated by a central white star.

Corona Australis | Lyra | Sagittarius | Scutum | Telescopium

  Corona Australis The Southern Crown  

Pronunciation:  (koh-ROH-nuh ahs-TRAY-liss) 
Abbreviation:  CrA   Genitive:  Coronae Austrini
Right Ascension:  18.64 hours   Declination:  -41.49 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 15

Corona Australis, the Southern Crown, is visible from latitudes south of 44 degrees north from May through July. It can best be seen in the northern hemisphere in August, although it is completely invisible in latitudes above 53 degrees north. This is an old constellation and is believed to represent the crown worn by the centaur Sagittarius. It was one of the original 48 constellations named by the astronomer Ptolemy. In ancient times it was pictured as a hand full of arrows held by the centaur, Centaurus. Corona Australis is a small, compact constellation located between Sagittarius and Scorpius, just east of scorpion's stinger. It is composed mainly o faint stars and contains no Messier objects.

Points of Interest in Corona Borealis
Diagram of the constellation Corona Australis Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 Alfecca Meridiana * 4.11
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  Lyra The Lyre  

Pronunciation:  (LY-ruh) 
Abbreviation:  Lyr   Genitive:  Lyrae
Right Ascension:  18.84 hours   Declination:  36.82 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 15

Lyra, the Harp or Lyre, is best seen in June through October in the northern hemisphere. It represents an ancient musical instrument known as a Lyre, which is similar to a harp. The Lyre was invented by Hermes as a gift to his half-brother Apollo, who gave it to Orpheus, the musician of the Argonauts. Lyra is a small, dim constellation, but it is home to the 5th brightest star in the sky, Vega. It also contains two messier objects. The most famous of these is M57, The Ring Nebula. This famous planetary nebula appears as concentric rings of color with a small white star at its center. It is this star that shed the material that now makes up the nebula. M56 is a tight globular cluster cluster of stars. Lyra is the radiant, or origin point, for the Lyrids meteor shower which occurs every year between April 16 and 25.

Points of Interest in Lyra
Diagram of the constellation Lyra Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 M56 Globular Star Cluster 8.3
2 M57 Planetary Nebula 8.8
3 Vega "Falling Eagle" 0.03
4 Sheliak "Tortoise" 3.45
5 Sulafat "Tortoise" 3.24
6 Aladfar * 4.39
7 Alathfar * 5.12
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  Sagittarius The Archer  

Pronunciation:  (SAJ-eh-TEHR-ee-us) 
Abbreviation:  Sgr   Genitive:  Sagittarii
Right Ascension:  19.11 hours   Declination:  -25.77 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 20

Sagittarius, the Archer, can be seen in the summer in the northern hemisphere and in winter in the southern hemisphere. This constellation is easy to recognizable due to an asterism, or grouping of stars that form a teacup shape. Sagittarius is believed to have originated with the Babylonians. He was their god of War, and he stands with his bow aimed at the heart of Scorpius, the scorpion. Like Centaurus, he is a half man, half beast creature. Some legends say that he was placed in the heavens to guide the Argonauts in their travels. Sagittarius is an important constellation in that it marks the direction of the center of our galaxy. It also contains more Messier objects than any other constellation in the sky. There are 15 in all, including seven globular clusters, four open star clusters, three nebulae, and an interesting patch of the Milky Way. M8 is known as the Lagoon Nebula and is one of the most well known nebulae in the sky. M20, the Trifid Nebula is famous for its dark dust lane that divides it into three distinct areas.

Points of Interest in Sagittarius
Diagram of the constellation Sagittarius Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 M75 Globular Star Cluster 8.5
2 M55 Globular Star Cluster 6.3
3 M54 Globular Star Cluster 7.6
4 M70 Globular Star Cluster 7.9
5 M69 Globular Star Cluster 7.6
6 M17 Diffuse Nebula 7.0
7 M18 Open Star Cluster 7.5
8 M24 Milky Way Patch 4.6
9 M25 Open Star Cluster 6.5
10 M23 Open Star Cluster 6.9
11 M22 Globular Star Cluster 5.1
12 M28 Globular Star Cluster 6.8
13 M21 Open Star Cluster 6.5
14 M20 Diffuse Nebula 9.0
15 M8 Diffuse Nebula 6.0
16 Rukbat "Knee" 3.97
17 Arkab Prior "Hamstring" 4.01
18 Arkab Posterior "Hamstring" 4.29
19 Nash "Arrowhead" 2.99
20 Kaus Meridionalis "Middle Bow" 2.70
21 Kaus Australis "Southern Bow" 1.85
22 Ascella "Armpit" 2.60
23 Kaus Borealis "Northern Bow" 2.81
24 Ain al Rami * 4.83
25 Albaldah * 2.89
26 Nunki * 2.02
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  Scutum The Shield  

Pronunciation:  (SKU-tum) 
Abbreviation:  Sct   Genitive:  Scuti
Right Ascension:  18.67 hours   Declination:  -10.3 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 15

Scutum, the Shield, is visible in latitudes south of 74 degrees north from June through August. The constellation was invented by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in 1690. It was originally drawn as the Coat of Arms of Scutum (John) Sobieskii, king of Poland, in honor of his victory against the Turks in 1683. As the Turkish army marched on Vienna in 1683, were turned back at the gates of the city. Seven years later, Scutum was created in honor of the king. Scutum is a small constellation. The stars are faint, but their shape does resemble that of a shield. There are two Messier objects here, both of which are open star clusters.

Points of Interest in Scutum
Diagram of the constellation Scutum Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 M11 Open Star Cluster 6.3
2 M26 Open Star Cluster 8.0
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  Telescopium The Telescope  

Pronunciation:  (TEL-eh-SKOH-pee-um) 
Abbreviation:  Tel   Genitive:  Telescopii
Right Ascension:  19.31 hours   Declination:  -50.46 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 25

Telescopium, the Telescope, is completely visible in latitudes south of 33 degrees north from June through August. It is one of the 15 southern constellations named by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the mid-eighteenth century. This is a small constellation located just south of Corona Australis and east of Scorpius. Telescopium was named after one of the most important pieces of equipment in astronomy, the telescope. Unlike its namesake, however, the constellation is quite small and insignificant. This area of the sky contains only faint stars and no objects of interest.

Points of Interest in Telescopium
Diagram of the constellation Telescopium

This constellation is composed mostly of 4th and 5th magnitude stars.

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