Auriga (constellation)

Infobox Constellation
name = Auriga
abbreviation = Aur
genitive = Aurigae
symbology = the Charioteer
RA = 6
dec= +40
areatotal = 657
arearank = 21st
numbermainstars = 5, 8
numberbfstars = 65
numberstarsplanets = 6
numberbrightstars = 4
numbernearbystars = 3
brighteststarname = Capella (α Aur)
starmagnitude = 0.08
neareststarname = HD 37394
stardistance = 39.92
numbermessierobjects = 3
meteorshowers = Alpha Aurigids
Delta Aurigids
bordering = Camelopardalis
Perseus
Taurus
Gemini
Lynx
latmax = 90
latmin = 40
month = February
notes=

Auriga (IPAEng|ɔːˈraɪgə, [OED] _la. charioteer) is a northern constellation. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy, and counts as one of the 88 modern constellations. Its brightest star is Capella, which is associated with the mythological she-goat Amalthea. The stars ζ Aurigae and η Aurigae are called "Haedi" (the Kids).

Notable features

ε Aurigae and ζ Aurigae are peculiar binary stars. The orbital period of ε Aurigae is approximately 27 years, with an eclipse duration of about 18 months. The visible companion is a yellowish F-class supergiant. The type of the other star is not known. ζ Aurigae has a period of 970 days, the primary is a K-class supergiant and the secondary is a B-class main sequence star. Both these systems present a rare stage of binary evolution, as the components are in a short and active evolutionary stage..

Notable deep sky objects

Auriga has many open clusters and other objects because the Milky Way runs through it. The three brightest open clusters are M36, M37 and M38, all of which are visible in binoculars or a small telescope in suburban skies. A larger telescope resolves individual stars. The clusters are about 4100, 4400, and 4200 light years distant, respectively. Their apparent visual magnitudes are 6.3, 6.2, and 7.4, respectively.

Three other open clusters are NGC 2281, lying close to ψ7 Aurigae, NGC 1664, which is close to ε Aurigae, and IC 410 (or NGC 1893), a cluster with nebulosity next to IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula, found about mid-way between M38 and ι Aurigae. AE Aurigae, a runaway star, is a bright variable star currently located within the Flaming Star Nebula.

Named Stars

Mythology

According to one Greek myth, Hera had a child who was born lame. Disgusted, she threw him out of Heaven to Earth, where he became the famous lame smith, Hephaestus, who fashioned beautiful ornaments and armor for the gods. He is also the smith who came to Orion's rescue after Orion had been blinded. It is said that because he was lame he invented the chariot so as to easily travel wherever he wanted to go without difficulty. He also built a chariot for Helios.

In another Greek myth, Auriga is said to represent Myrtilus, the charioteer of King Oenomaus. The king was jealous of anyone who came to seek his daughter's hand in marriage. Being noted for his love of horses, the king announced that all suitors would have to take part in a chariot race against him and, should they lose, pay with their lives. Pelops, the lover of Oenomaus' daughter, bribed Myrtilus to sabotage the king's chariot to guarantee his marriage with Hippodameia. Upon the day of the race, the king was killed in the ensuing accident. Shortly thereafter, Myrtilus tried to seduce Hippodameia as he was secretly in love with her. She ran crying to Pelops who then cursed Myrtilus by casting him into the sea. As Myrtilus drown, he in turn cursed Pelops, which was the source of the curse that forever haunted the future generation of Pelops' children.

Auriga might also represent the 10th Labour of Heracles. Together with the area of the sky that is deserted (now considered as the new and extremely faint constellations Camelopardalis and Lynx), and the other features of the area in the Zodiac sign of Gemini (i.e. the Milky Way, and the constellations Gemini, Orion, and Canis Major), this may be the origin of the myth of the cattle of Geryon, which forms one of The Twelve Labours of Heracles.

Before the classical era, it was also identified as a chariot and its driver, which, considering its fainter stars visible to the naked eye, it resembles. However, the driver was considered to be a shepherd, usually one which had flung a goat over its left shoulder (due to the resemblance of that area to a lump), and had its kids (two bright stars) nearby.

Graphic visualization

The stars of the constellation Auriga can be connected in an alternative way, which graphically shows the charioteer's head wearing a pointy cap and facing towards Perseus.

Stars α Aur (Capella), β Aur, θ Aur, ι Aur, and ε Aur form the charioteer's head: with α Aur being of magnitude zero, β Aur being of magnitude two, and the rest of the stars being of magnitude three. Star α Aur may be taken to represent the charioteer's eye, whereas star ι Aur represents the charioteer's chin.

Stars β Aur, δ Aur, and α Aur form the charioteer's pointy cap, with δ Aur being the top of the cap.

Finally, the stars α Aur, ε Aur, ζ Aur, and η Aur form the charioteer's nose: η Aur being of the third magnitude.

References

* H. A. Rey, "The Stars — A New Way To See Them". Enlarged World-Wide Edition. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1997. ISBN 0-395-24830-2.
* Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). "Stars and Planets Guide", Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.
* Richard Hinckley Allen, "", New York, Dover.

ee also

* Psi Aurigae
* Telescopium Herschelii

External links

* [http://www.allthesky.com/constellations/auriga/ The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Auriga]
* [http://160.114.99.91/astrojan/auriga.htm The clickable Auriga]
* [http://www.sky-map.org/?ra=6.067950812880323&de=41.96998030193955&zoom=2&locale=EN&show_grid=1&show_constellation_lines=1&show_constellation_boundaries=1&show_const_names=0&show_galaxies=1 "WIKISKY.ORG": Auriga]
* [http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/auriga.htm Star Tales – Auriga]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Auriga — can refer to:*Auriga (constellation), a constellation of stars *Auriga (slave), a Roman slave chauffeur *HMS Auriga (P419), a British submarine launched in 1945 *USM Auriga , a spaceship in the film Alien: Resurrection *A Protoss tribe in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Auriga Capella — Infobox animanga character name = Auriga Capella series = Saint Seiya caption = Capella, the Auriga Charioteer Silver Saint, in a screenshot from the anime creator = Masami Kurumada voiced by = Katsuji Mori (森功至) age = 17 gender = Male born =… …   Wikipedia

  • Constellation du Cocher — Cocher (constellation) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cocher. Cocher …   Wikipédia en Français

  • auriga —   n. charioteer.    ♦ Auriga, constellation in nothern hemisphere.    ♦ aurigation, n. art of driving a chariot …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • Auriga Nunataks — (coord|70|42|S|66|38|W|) is a small group of nunataks in Palmer Land located 21 miles (34 km) east of Wade Point at the head of Bertram Glacier. The highest of these rises to a sharp peak and is visible for a great distance. Named by United… …   Wikipedia

  • Auriga — northern constellation, from L. auriga a charioteer, driver, from aureae bridle of a horse (from os, gen. oris, mouth ) + agere set in motion, drive, lead (see ACT (Cf. act)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Auriga — Au*ri ga, n. [L., charioteer.] (Anat.) The Charioteer, or Wagoner, a constellation in the northern hemisphere, situated between Perseus and Gemini. It contains the bright star Capella. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Auriga — [ô rī′gə] n. [ME < L, lit., charioteer < aurea, bridle + agere, to drive: see ACT1] a N constellation between Perseus and Gemini; the Charioteer …   English World dictionary

  • Constellation — This article is about the star grouping. For other uses, see Constellation (disambiguation). The constellation Orion is one of the most recognizable in the night sky. In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Constellation Family — For East Asian and Chinese constellation groupings, see Chinese constellations. Constellation Families[1][2][3][4][3] (singularly as Constellation Family) …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”