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September Constellations

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The ten September constellations contain several notable groups such as Aquila, the eagle, Capricornus, the sea goat, and Cygnus, the swan. There are only a few notable deep sky objects found in these constellations. The famous Dumbbell Nebula is located in Vulpecula. This planetary nebula was formed when a star shed its outer layer of gas. The name comes from its unmistakable hourglass shape, which resembles a weight lifter's dumbbell. The rest of the objects are star clusters. Capricornus and Sagitta each contain a globular cluster while Cygnus contains two open clusters. A few interesting bright stars can be found in the September sky. Aquila is the home of Altair, the 11th brightest star in the sky. Deneb, located in Cygnus, is part of a visual formation known as the Summer Triangle.

Aquila | Capricornus | Cygnus | Delphinus | Equuleus | Indus | Microscopium
Pavo | Sagitta | Vulpecula

  Aquila The Eagle  

Pronunciation:  (uh-KWIL-uh) 
Abbreviation:  Aql   Genitive:  Aqualie
Right Ascension:  19.67 hours   Declination:  -2.5 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
652
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 30

Aquila, the Eagle, is visible in the northern hemisphere from July through October. It represents the bird that carried the mortal Ganymede to the heavens to serve as Zeus' cupbearer. Aquila is located on the celestial equator, which is the center of an imaginary globe of stars around the Earth known as the celestial sphere. This constellation is the home of Altair, the 11th brightest star in the night sky. It contains no Messier objects, but there are a few faint planetary nebulae and star clusters here for the serious observer to find.

Points of Interest in Aquila
Diagram of the constellation Aquila Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 Altair "Flying One" 0.77
2 Alshain "Falcon" 3.71
3 Tarazed "Plundering Falcon" 2.72
4 Deneb el Okab * 4.02
5 Deneb el Okab * 2.99
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  Capricornus The Sea Goat  

Pronunciation:  (KAP-ri-KOR-nus) 
Abbreviation:  Cap   Genitive:  Capricorni
Right Ascension:  21.02 hours   Declination:  -20-23 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
414
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, September 20

Capricornus is visible in the northern hemisphere in early autumn. It reaches its highest point on September 1. This ancient constellation has been known since Babylonian and Chaldean times. It is represented as a goat with the tail of a fish. Capricornus is one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac, which is an imaginary belt of the sky through which the Sun passes on its yearlong travels across the sky. It is also one of the dimmest constellations in the sky. Most of the stars are 3rd magnitude or dimmer. This constellation contains no notable deep sky objects.

Points of Interest in Capricornus
Diagram of the constellation Capricornus Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 M30 Globular Star Cluster 7.2
2 Prima Giedi "Goat" 4.24
3 Secunda Giedi "Goat" 3.57
4 Dabih "Slaughterer" 3.08
5 Nashira "Field" 3.68
6 Deneb Algedi "Tail of the Goat" 2.87
7 Alshat * 4.76
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  Cygnus The Swan  

Pronunciation:  (SIG-nus) 
Abbreviation:  Sgr   Genitive:  Sagittarii
Right Ascension:  19.11 hours   Declination:  -25.77 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
867
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 20

Cygnus, the Swan, can be seen in the northern hemisphere between June and October. The swan is one of two birds along with Aquila, the Eagle, which are hunted by Hercules. There are a number of possible mythological origins for this constellation. In one version, the swan is the musician Orpheus, who was killed by Achilles at the battle of troy. Upon his death, he was placed among the stars with his harp, Lyra. In another version, the swan was the pet of the Queen, Cassiopeia. The stars in this constellation form a large cross. It has even been referred to as the Northern Cross. Deneb, the brightest star in Cygnus, forms a large triangle with two other stars, Altair and Vega. This prominent formation of bright stars is known as the summer triangle. Cygnus is the home of one of the most famous black hole candidates, known as Cygnus X-1. The constellation also contains two Messier objects, both of which are open star clusters.

Points of Interest in Cygnus
Diagram of the constellation Cygnus Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 M39 Open Star Cluster 5.2
2 M29 Open Star Cluster 7.1
3 Deneb "Tail of the Hen" 1.25
4 Albireo "Beak of the Hen" 3.08
5 Sadr "Breast" 2.20
6 Gienah Cygni "Wing" 2.46
7 Azelfafage * 4.67
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  Delphinus The Dolphin  

Pronunciation:  (del-FY-nus) 
Abbreviation:  Del   Genitive:  Delphini
Right Ascension:  20.7 hours   Declination:  13.82 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
189
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, September 15

Delphinus, the Dolphin, is visible in late summer from the Northern Hemisphere. This ancient constellation is located just west of Pegasus. It bears a remarkable resemblance to a dolphin leaping out of the water. Because of this shape, it is easy to recognize in the sky. This constellation is believed to represent a dolphin that helped Poseidon locate the mermaid, Amphitrite. As a reward, Poseidon placed the dolphin among the stars. This small constellation contains a few moderately bright stars and no notable deep sky objects.

Points of Interest in Delphinus
Diagram of the constellation Delphinus Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 Sualocin "Nicolaus", Backwards 3.77
2 Rotanev "Venator", Backwards 3.63
3 Deneb Dulfim "Tail of the Dolphin" 4.03
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  Equuleus The Little Horse  

Pronunciation:  (ee-KWOO-lee-us) 
Abbreviation:  Equ   Genitive:  Equulei
Right Ascension:  21.21 hours   Declination:  7 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
72
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, September 20

Equuleus is located between Pegasus and Delphinus. It is visible in mid-September rising just before Pegasus. Equuleus is an old constellation that may have been identified by Ptolemy in the second century. In some references, it may represent Cerleris, the brother of Pegasus, who was given to Castor by Mercury. It could also have been Cyllarus, which was given to Pollux by Juno. This constellation contains one moderately bright star and no deep sky objects.

Points of Interest in Equuleus
Diagram of the constellation Equuleus Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 Kitalpha "Part of the Horse" 3.92
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  Indus The American Indian  

Pronunciation:  (IN-dus) 
Abbreviation:  Ind   Genitive: Indi
Right Ascension:  21.19 hours   Declination: -53.37 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
294
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, September 25

The constellation Indus is completely visible in latitudes south of 15 degrees north from July through September. This southern constellation was named by Johann Bayer in 1603 as he prepared his book, Uranometra. He selected this name to honor the Native Americans that European travelers had encountered during their travels and expeditions. This constellation is composed of faint stars and contains no objects of interest.

Points of Interest in Indus
Diagram of the constellation Indus
None.

This constellation is composed primarily of  faint stars.

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  Microscopium The Microscope  

Pronunciation:  (MY-kroh-SCOH-pee-um) 
Abbreviation:  Mic   Genitive: Microscopii
Right Ascension:  20.97 hours   Declination: -35.2 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
210
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, September 20

Microscopium, the Microscope, is visible in latitudes south of 45 degrees north between July and September. It was named by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille to honor the invention of the microscope. It is one of several constellations named by Lacaille for scientific instruments. This constellation is composed of faint stars and contains no deep sky objects of interest.

Points of Interest in Microscopium
Diagram of the constellation Microscopium
None.

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

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  Pavo The Peacock  

Pronunciation:  (PAY-voh) 
Abbreviation:  Pav   Genitive:  Pavonis
Right Ascension:  19.68 hours   Declination:  -66.13 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
378
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 25

Pavo, the Peacock, is visible in latitudes south of 15 degrees north from June through August. The name Pavo is actually Latin for peacock. It represents Argus, an ancient giant with 100 eyes. When Argus was killed by Hermes, Hera put its many eyes on the tail of her peacock. Pavo contains only one bright star and no deep sky objects.

Points of Interest in Pavo
Diagram of the constellation Pavo Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 Peacock "The Peacock Star" 1.94
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  Sagitta The Arrow  

Pronunciation:  (suh-JIT-uh) 
Abbreviation:  Sge   Genitive:  Sagittae
Right Ascension:  19.67 hours   Declination:  17.81 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
80
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, August 30

Sagitta, The Arrow, can be seen in late summer in the northern hemisphere. It may represent the emblem of Diane and Apollo, Cupids arrow. In the past, it may have been part of the neighboring constellations of Hercules or Aquila. Some ancient references say that the archer, Sagittarius, shot the arrow at an unknown target. Sagitta is the smallest constellation in the sky and contains no stars above magnitude 4. It does contain one item of importance, a globular star cluster known as M71.

Points of Interest in Sagitta
Diagram of the constellation Sagitta Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 M71 Globular Star Cluster 8.2
2 Sham * 4.37
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  Vulpecula The Fox  

Pronunciation:  (vul-PEK-u-luh) 
Abbreviation:  Vul   Genitive:  Vulpeculae
Right Ascension:  20.34 hours   Declination:  25.06 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
141
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, March 1

Vulpecula, the Fox, was introduced by Johannes Hevelius. It was published after his death in his star catalogue of 1690. The constellation actually resembles a flying gull as seen face-on. It was originally called Vulpecula cum Anser, The Fox and Goose. Vulpecula is the home of the Dumbbell Nebula. This planetary nebula gets its name from its hourglass shape, which resembles a dumbbell used for weight lifting. It was formed when an old star shed its outer layer of gas. Aside from the nebula, there are no other interesting objects in this constellation. All of the stars are dimmer than 4th magnitude.

Points of Interest in Vulpecula
Diagram of the constellation Vulpecula Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 M27 Planetary Nebula 7.4
2 Anser * 4.44
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