Ophiuchus

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Abbreviation:  Oph
English Name:  The Serpent Holder
Genitive: Rasalhague
Hemisphere: Northern Hemisphere
Location: Between the constellations of Hercules and Scorpius.
Visible between latitudes:  +80 and -80 degrees
Best season: Summer
Seen in three seasons: Spring, Summer, and Autumn.
Best seen in:  July
Seen between: June and August
Right Ascension (RA): 17 hour
Declination (DEC): +00 degrees
Area (square degrees):  948 (11th)

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Ophiuchus (The Serpent Holder)

  • Ophiuchus is a very large but not particularly classifiable constellation; the southern portion of which extends to the galactic plane.
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  • The whole of the southern area is filled with gas and dust, giving rise to all three types of diffuse nebulae – there are some Open Clusters and about 25 Globular Clusters.

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Messier Objects in Ophiuchus

M9 – Globular Cluster; Medium concentration of stars – bright, large and round. (Magnitude: +7.9)
M10 – Globular Cluster; Very well resolved in apertures greater than 10-inch. (Magnitude: +6.6)
M12 – Globular Cluster; low power (telescope’s eyepiece) there is a rocket-shaped. (Magnitude: +6.7)
M14 – Globular Cluster; Remarkable object – extremely rich. (Magnitude: +7.6)
M19 – Globular Cluster; appearing elongated/oval-shaped, even in binoculars – it begins to be resolved with 6-inch telescopes. (Magnitude: +7.2)
M62 – Globular Cluster; High concentration of stars, large and bright. (Magnitude: +6.6)
M107 – Globular Cluster; faintest as suffering from concentration, being so close to the galactic centre.

More objects in Ophiuchus

Select CatalogNo of Objects
Barnard (B)64x objects
Caldwell (C)0x object
Collinder (Cr)8x objects
New General Catalogue (NGC)42x objects
Index Catalogue (IC)21x objects
Sharpless (Sh2)3x objects

Features of Interest

  • NGC 6572 – Planetary Nebula; bright and is visible with 3-inch small telescopes. (Magnitude: +9.1)
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  • NGC 6633 – Open Cluster; bright, integrated magnitude +4.6 – visible with naked-eye. Worth examining with binoculars.
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  • IC 4665 – Open Cluster; large and scattered – no concentration of stars, moderate range in brightness. It is readily seen in binoculars and small telescopes. (Magnitude: +4.2)

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Named Stars

  • Rasalhague (Alpha Oph)
  • Cebalrai (Beta Oph)
  • Yed Prior (Delta Oph)
  • Yed Posterior (Epsilon Oph)
  • Sabik (Eta Oph)
  • Marfic (Lambda Oph)
  • more list of stars in Ophiuchus

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IAU Sky Chart: Ophiuchus


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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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