Auriga

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Abbreviation:  Aur
English Name:  The Charioteer
Genitive: Capella
Hemisphere: Northern Hemisphere
Location: Between the constellations of Taurus and Camelopardis.
Visible between latitudes:  +90 and -40 degrees
Best season: Winter
Seen in three seasons: Autumn, Winter and Spring
Best seen in:  January/February (This constellation of Auriga stays in the sky all the year.)
Seen between: October and March
Right Ascension (RA): 06 hour
Declination (DEC): +40 degrees
Area (square degrees):  657 (21st)

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Auriga (The Charioteer)

  • A large constellation – containing the brightest star, Capella (Alpha Aurigae).
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  • The sixth brightest star in the night sky, at magnitude +0.1.
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  • To the naked-eye, it’s appearing yellow; consisting of two yellow-coloured giants  stars that orbit each other every 104 days.
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  • Capella is circumpolar anywhere north of 50 degrees latitude.
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  • The Milky Way passes through it, so the area contains several Open Clusters – Messier 36, Messier 37 and Messier 38.

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Messier Objects in Auriga

M36 – Small bright Open Cluster, readily visible in binoculars.
M37 – Very Large Open Cluster, almost the diameter of the Full Moon – hazy spot in binoculars, but resolves into a large numbers of stars by a telescope.
M38 – Slightly fainter than M36, but is larger – sometimes be resolved with binoculars.

Other objects in Auriga

Select CatalogNo of Objects
Barnard (B)9x objects
Caldwell (C)1x object
Collinder (Cr)18x objects
New General Catalogue (NGC)25x objects
Index Catalogue (IC)15x objects
Sharpless (Sh2)20x objects

Features of Interest

  • NGC2281 – an other Open Cluster visible in binoculars.
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  • IC 405 – Flaming Star Nebula showing the “smoke” of reflection nebula; use an OIII or H-Beta filter if possible.

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Named Stars

  • Capella (Alpha Aur)
  • Menkalinan (Beta Aur)
  • Al Anz (Epsilon Aur)
  • Haedi (Zeta Aur)
  • Hoedus II (Eta Aur)
  • Hassaleh (Iota Aur)
  • more list of stars in Auriga

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IAU Sky Chart: Auriga

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Constellations – Visible from the UK

AndromedaAquariusAquilaAriesAuriga
BoötesCamelopardalisCancerCanes VenaticiCanis Major
Canis MinorCapricornusCassiopeiaCepheusComa Berenices
Corona BorealisCygnusDelphinusDracoEquuleus
GeminiHerculesLacertaLeoLeo Minor
LibraLynx LyraMonocerosOphiuchus
OrionPegasusPerseusPiscesSagitta
Serpens CaputSerpens CaudaSextansTaurusTriangulum
Ursa MajorUrsa MinorVirgoVulpecula
(44 constellations above are visible from the United Kingdom.)

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Parts visible from the UK

AntliaColumbaEridanusFornaxMicroscopium
Piscis AustrinusPuppisPyxisSagittariusScorpius
(10 constellations above are partially visible from the United Kingdom.)

(Only 10 of them even in part from the United Kingdom.)

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Constellations: Southern Celestial Hemisphere
…..never seen from the UK

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Back to Constellation Names

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