Capricorn (constellation)

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Capricorn constellation
Capricornus constellation map.png
Latin name Capricornus
Latin genitive Capricorni
Abbreviation Cap
Right ascension 20064620 h 06 m 46 s to  21 h 59 m 05 s215905
declination 1726169−27 ° 38 ′ 31 ″ to  −8 ° 24 ′ 16 ″1917584
surface 413,947 deg²
rank 40
Completely visible 62.5 ° N to 90 ° S
Observation time for Central Europe Summer autumn
Number of stars brighter than 3 mag 1
Brightest star (size) Deneb Algedi (2.73)
Meteor streams
Neighboring constellations
clockwise from north )
swell IAU ,

The Capricorn ( Latin Capricornus , astronomical sign ♑) is a constellation of the ecliptic .


The constellation of Capricorn as seen with the naked eye

The Capricorn (also goat fish, therefore often depicted with a fish tail (see picture)) is an inconspicuous constellation between Aquarius and Sagittarius . Only two of its stars reach the 3rd magnitude . The brightest star in the constellation is called Deneb Algedi .


Capricorn is one of the 48 constellations of ancient Greek astronomy that were already described by Ptolemy .

The constellation is one of the signs of the zodiac because the ecliptic runs through it. The sun stays in Capricorn from January 20th to February 16th of each year.

In ancient times, the sun passed the lowest point of its orbit in Capricorn and marked the winter solstice . The latitude of 23 ° 26 'south is still called the Tropic of Capricorn today, as the sun is at its zenith at the winter solstice at this latitude . In fact, the lowest point of the sun's orbit has shifted into the constellation Sagittarius due to the precession movement of the earth's axis .

On September 23, 1846, Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the eighth planet Neptune near the star δ Capricorni ( Deneb Algedi ) in Capricorn.


Engraving of the constellation Capricorn

Capricorn is probably one of the oldest constellations. The Babylonians called it "goat fish". A profane explanation for this is that the residents of the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea used the constellation to mark the time when schools of the goat fish ( Parupeneus forsskali ) were to be caught.

Only in Roman times was the constellation renamed Capricorn. Nevertheless, it is still represented today as a being with the upper body of a goat and the lower body of a fish.

The Greek mythology after jumping the bockbeinige god Pan on the run from the monster Typhon made, the hunt for the gods into the sea. Pan wanted to take on the shape of a fish, but he only half succeeded. Typhon then attacked the god Zeus and tore out the tendons on his arms and legs. Pan and Hermes reinstalled Zeus' tendons. The restored Zeus overpowered Typhon and gave Pan in his form as a goat fish in thanks to heaven.

Meteor streams

The radiant of the Alpha Capricornid meteor shower is in Capricorn. The meteor shower can be observed from July 15th to September 11th, with the maximum of 6-14 meteors per hour occurring between August 1st and 2nd.

Celestial objects


B. F. Names or other designations like Lj Spectral class
104δ 49 Delta Capricorni , Deneb Algedi, Scheddi 2.81-3.05 39 kA5hF0mF2 III
400β 1β 1 9 Beta 1 Capricorni , Dabih, Giedi, Sadalzabih 3.21 330 K0 II + A5: n
400α 2α 2 6th Alpha 2 Capricorni , Algedi, Secunda Giedi 3.74 106 G8.5 III-IV
103γ 40 Gamma Capricorni , Nashira 3.77 157 kF0hF1mF2 V
106ζ 34 Zeta Capricorni , Marakk 3.92 385 G8 III + DA2
108θ 23 Theta Capricorni , Dorsum 4.08 162 A1 V
124ω 18th Omega Capricorni , Baten Algiedi 4.22 840 K4 III
123ψ 16 Psi Capricorni , Pazan 4.23 48 F5 V
400α 1α 1 5 Alpha 1 Capricorni , Prima Giedi 4.41 570 G3 Ib
109ι 32 Iota Capricorni 4.44 197 G8 III
105ε 39 Epsilon Capricorni , Kastra 4.45 1055 B3 V
24 4.61 455 K5 / M0 III
200bb 36 4.66 170 K0 III
113ν 8th Ny Capricorni , Alshat 4.75 253 B9 IV
117ρ 11 4.85 99 F2 V
110κ 43 4.88 294 G8 III
107η 22nd Eta Capricorni , Armus 4.90 161 A5 V + F2 V
116π 10 Pi Capricorni , Okul 5.07 545 B3.5V
112μ 51 My Capricorni 5.17 87 F2 V
119τ 14th 5.20 1140 B7 III
120υ 15th 5.23 580 M1 III
200cc 46 5.26 790 G8 II-III
122χ 25th 5.32 180 A0 V
121φ 28 5.33 640 K0 II / III
118σ 7th 5.44 1120 K2 III
111λ 48 5.58 282 A0 V
114ξ 2 5.95 90 F7 V

θ Capricorni ( dorsum , Latin for "back"), a white main sequence star , is 162 light years away. The star rotates unusually fast.

μ Capricorni, a white-yellow main sequence star 87 light-years away, shows a fast proper motion in the sky of 312 milli-arcseconds / year. Taking into account its radial motion, the star moves at a speed of 62 km / s relative to the sun .

ν Capricorni ( Alshat , Arabic for "the sheep") is a blue-white subgiant about 253 light years away.

ψ Capricorni ( Pazan , Persian "Capricorn") is a white and yellow main sequence star 48 light years away. It bears some resemblance to the sun.

Multiple stars

system like distance
104δ 3.0 / 12.7 119 ″
102β 3.4 / 6.2 205 ″
400α 2α 2 3.8 / 11.2 6.6 '
106ζ 3.9 / 12.5 21 ″
124ω 4.2
α 1 4.6 / 9.6 44 ″
24 4.6 / 11.7 26 ″
105ε 4.7 / 9.5 68 ″
113ν 4.8 / 11.8 54 ″
117ρ 5.0 / 10.0 0.5 ″
107η 5.2 / 6.5 0.3 ″
116π 5.2 / 8.8 3.2 ″
119τ 5.6 / 6.9 0.3 ″
122χ 5.3 / 11.0 67 ″
118σ 5.5 / 9.0 56 ″
114ξ 5.9 / 12.1 72 ″

The Capricorn contains some binary star systems that can be resolved into single stars in binoculars or a small telescope .

The second brightest star in Capricorn, β Capricorni ( Dabih , Arabic “slaughter”), is a multiple star system about 330 light years away. Due to the large angular distance, the two main components β 1 and β 2 ( Dabih Maior and Dabih Minor ) can be separated using binoculars. Each of the two main components is itself multiple.

α Capricorni ( Algedi , Arabic “billy goat”) appears as a double star to the naked eye (distance 6.6 '). The stars α 1 and α 2 are not physically bound to each other, but only stand in one direction when viewed from the earth. It is therefore an "optical" double star. Both stars are actually "real" multiple stars, but their companions only become visible in the telescope.

The brighter α 2 is 106 light years away and is a system of four components with a yellow giant star as the main star. The system α 1 is much further away with 570 light years and a system of at least five components with a yellow supergiant as the main star.

ζ Capricorni ( Marakk , Arabic “soft belly”) is a yellow giant star 385 light years away, ω Capricorni ( Baten Algiedi , Arabic “belly of the billy goat”) is a red giant star 840 light years away. Their spectrum shows peculiarities according to which they were classified as barium stars . They are typically orbited by white dwarfs .

η Capricorni ( armus , Latin for "upper arm, shoulder") is a close double star around 160 light years away, the two stars orbiting each other in 28 years. When it was covered by the moon, it was observed for the first time in 1950 that this occurred in two stages.

π Capricorni ( Okul , Latin for "eye") is a multiple star 545 light years away. The main star is a blue-white main sequence star.

Variable stars

star like period Type
δ 2.81-3.05 1.02277 d β Per (Algol)
γ 3.77 α 2 CnV
ι 4.44 BY Dra
ε 4.45 γ Cas

δ Capricorni is a multiple system, the main star of which is an eclipsing star of the Algol type , its brightness decreases by 0.2 mag every 24.5 hours. This decrease in brightness is caused by a weaker companion star, which, when viewed from Earth, moves in front of the main star and darkens it every 24.5 hours. δ Cap is the brightest star in Capricorn. The Arabic name Deneb Algedi means "tail of the billy goat".

γ Capricorni ( Nashira , Arabic "spreading (he lucky star)") is a rotationally variable star of the Alpha 2 -Canum-Venaticorum type, it shows magnetic field fluctuations as well as very small brightness fluctuations.

ι Capricorni is a yellow giant star about 200 light years away. It is a rotationally variable BY Draconis- type star .

ε Capricorni ( Kastra , Latin for "camp, barracks") is a blue-white main sequence star about 1055 light years away. It is an irregularly eruptive variable of the Gamma-Cassiopeiae type .

Messier and NGC objects

Messier (M) NGC Surname like Type
30th 7099 7.7 Globular clusters

In Capricorn there are only a few conspicuous galactic nebulae, star clusters or galaxies, only one globular star cluster was included in his catalog of foggy objects ( Messier catalog ) by the French astronomer and comet hunter Charles Messier .

M 30 is a globular cluster with a distance of about 26,000 light years. Even in binoculars it can be seen as a misty spot. In order to resolve it into single stars at the edge, however, you need a larger telescope.

Special constellations

Blood moon on July 27, 2018 in Berlin shortly after exiting the umbra. The planet Mars is located a good 6 degrees to the right below the moon. Above the moon in the constellation Capricorn, the following brighter stars are visible from left to right: Ups Capricorni, rho Capricorni, omicron Capricorni, pi Capricorni and sigma Capricorni, further above beta Capricorni (Dabih).

On July 27, 2018, both the Moon and Mars were in opposition in the constellation Capricorn as the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century occurred.

Web links

Commons : Constellation Capricorn  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Capricorn  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. VizieR: Hipparcos Input Catalog, Version 2 (Turon + 1993)