Scutum is one of the faintest constellations, so it’s not easy to get a good view of it. It is also relatively small too, which makes it even more difficult to see it in the night sky. However, it is an interesting one made up of many different stars. Let’s take a look at Scutum and learn some more about this constellation.
- Bordered By; Serpens, Aquila, Sagittarius
- Named after; The Shield
- Declination; -10°
- Brightest Star; Alpha Scuti
- Best seen; August
- Size rank; 84th
- Constellation family; Hercules
- Pronunciation; SKYOO-TM
What is Scutum named after?
Scutum takes it’s name from the Latin word for Shield. It was originally named to commemorate the Battle of Vienna.
Who founded the Scutum Constellation?
Scutum was named by a Polish astronomer named Johannes Hevelius. He is known not just for discovering Scutum, but also a range of other constellations like Sextans and Lynx.
How can I see Scutum in the sky?
It is possible to see Scutum in dark night skies looking overheard in the Southern Hemisphere, or Southwards if you’re in the Northern hemisphere. However, it is quite faint so you will only be able to see it at certain times of the years.
Main Stars of Scutum
Although Scutum is very faint, it is actually made up of quite a few different stars. Lets look at some of the brightest stars in the constellation Scutum, and well as the Wild Duck Cluster.
- Alpha Scuti (α) – The brightest star in this constellation is named Alpha Scuti. It is a single orange hued star, and actually it was previously part of the Aquila constellation before being considered the brightest star in Scutum. It is an evolved giant star, and is around 200 light years from the Sun.
- Beta Scuti (β) – The next brightest star in Scutum is Beta Scuti, which actually consists of two stars in a binary star system. It consists of a yellow-hued giant as the primary star, and an evolved giant as the secondary star.
- Zeta Scuti (ζ) – Zeta Scuti is another binary star system, though it is fainter than Beta Scuti. It’s estimated that it has 9.3x the radius of the Sun.
- Gamma Scuti (γ) – Another one of the main stars in Scutum is named Gamma Scuti. Although it is faint, it is still visible without a telescope. It is estimated to be more than 319 light years away from the Sun.
- Delta Scuti (δ) – The fifth brightest star in this constellation is Delta Scuti. It is estimated to be more than 200 light years from Earth. but if it continues moving at the same velocity it is now, it will eventually be the brightest star in the Sky, as it will be less than 10 light years away.
- Eta Scuti (η) – Eta Scuti is a single, faint orange-hued ageing giant star. Astronomers estimate that it is around 2.8 billion years old, with 63x it’s luminosity.
- Epsilion Scuti (ε) – This is a yellow-hued bright giant star with a high luminosity. However, Epsilon Scuti is very faint to us because it’s more than 500 light years away from the Sun.
As well as these star, Scutum is also home of the Wild Duck Cluster, which is a cluster of stars discovered back in 1681. Of course, it takes it’s name from a flock of ducks, as the positioning of it’s stars give this appearance. This cluster is estimated to be around 300 million years old, and is one of the richest clusters in the sky.
Overall, these are just some basic facts about the constellation Scutum. Although it is small and faint, it is still worth trying to see this constellation at certain times. This constellation, which is nicknamed “the Shield”, is definitely worth adding to your list of viewable constellations.