Capricornus is a very old but faint constellation of late summer.

Its significance lies in the fact that around 3000 B.C. the constellation marked the Winter Solstice, as the sun reached its furthest point south of the equator (22 December).

It was a time (then as now) of religious ritual, with Capricornus signaling the season.

These days, precession having moved its stars several months ahead, the Sun now enters Capricornus in January (although for astrological purposes the sun is still said to enter Capricornus on the 22nd of December).

In mid-August and September Capricorn is due south around midnight, below the ‘Summer Triangle’ (which is composed of Deneb (alpha Cygni), Vega (alpha Lyrae) and Altair (alpha Aquila).

From Vega draw a line down to Altair. Now continue this line further south almost the same distance until you see two faint stars, one above this other. These are alpha and beta Capricorni, both of which are notable binaries.

Click on alpha, delta, or M30.



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