Sagitta is one of the smallest constellations in our night sky, and is also quite dim too. However, although it is small, it is very distinctive and a true representation of the object it’s meant to resemble – the arrow. It is another of the constellations founded by Ptolemy in the 2nd Century. Let’s learn some more about the constellation Sagitta.
- Bordered By; Vulpecula, Hercules, Aquila, Delphinus
- Named after; The Arrow
- Declination; +18°
- Brightest Star; Gamma Sagittae
- Best seen; September
- Size rank; 86th
- Constellation family; Hercules
- Pronunciation; SAH-JEE-TA
What is Sagitta named after?
Sagitta takes it’s name from the Latin for the word “arrow”, obviously due to it’s appearance. Even before this, the Geeks called this constellation Oistos, which also means arrow. It is thought that this constellation is linked to Aquila, the Eagle, as Hercules killed Aquila with his bow and arrow. Sagitta borders both Aquila and Hercules, so it makes sense that they would say this!
Who founded the Sagitta Constellation?
This constellation was one of many discovered in the writings of Ptolemy, dating all the way back to the 2nd Century. Ptolemy was a Greek astronomer and mathematician known for writing the Almagest, which is the origination of many of the constellations in our night sky.
How can I see Sagitta in the sky?
Sagitta is a good constellation to look for in the night sky, as it an be seen from every around the Earth. The only place that you can’t see Sagitta is within the Antarctic circle.
Main Stars of Sagitta
There are many different stars within the constellation Sagitta for us to learn about, as well ass the Necklace Nebula. Match them up with the stars below.
- Gamma Sagittae (γ) – Gamma Sagittae is the brightest star in this constellation. it is a single star which has a distance of around 258 light years from the Sun. It is thought to be a red giant star that is more than 2 billion years old.
- Delta Sagittae (δ) – The next brightest star in this constellation is called Delta Sagittae. It is around 430 light years away from the planet Earth, and it is another red giant star.
- Alpha Sagittae (α) – Another single star in this constellation is Alpha Sagittae. It is a yellow hued star that is estimated to be 21x larger than the Sun, with more than 340x’s it’s luminosity.
- Beta Sagittae (β) – Beta Sagittae is one of the fainter stars in this constellation, though it is still 27x larger than our Sun. It is estimated to be quite young at only 129 million years old.
- Zeta Sagittae (ζ) – Out of the stars, Zeta Sagittae is the only one comprised of a triple star system. Although it is also faint, it is still possible to see this star without a telescope.
- Eta Sagittae (η) – Another star in this constellation is called Eta Sagittae. It is more than 1.7 billion years old, and it is more than 25x more luminous than our Sun.
As well as these stars, you can also find the Necklace Nebula when looking in this constellation. This nebula was only discovered back in 2005, and is the result of a collision between two stars. It is more than 12 trillion miles wide, and takes it’s name from it’s resemblance of a necklace.
As well as these stars and nebula, there are also 3 exoplanets which may be visible in this constellation. They were only discovered in the last two decades.
All in all, Sagitta is an interesting constellation not to be confused with Sagittarius (Sagitta is the Arrow, whereas Sagittarius is the Archer). It is located in the 4th quadrant of the Northern hemisphere, but is visible pretty much everywhere on Earth.