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Constellation Sagitta (Arrow)

Constellation Sagitta (Arrow)

Northern Hemisphere




The constellation Arrow (lat. Sagitta) is the third smallest in the starry sky with an area of 80 square degrees. It is located in the most star-filled area of the Milky Way and contains the globular cluster M71. Even in ancient astronomy, an arrow was recognized in the constellation.

How to spot Sagitta

Sagitta is a constellation of the northern hemisphere and can be seen in summer. It consists of four stars of the third and fourth magnitude, arranged in an unambiguous arrow shape. The brightest star, γ Sagittae, forms the top. In the north it borders on the constellation Vulpecula, in the east on Delphinus, in the south on the Eagle and in the west on Hercules.


There are several versions of the mythological origin of the Arrow as a constellation.

First, it says that the constellation represents the arrow that killed the physician Asclepius. The Centaurus Cheiron had trained the son of Apollo to be an excellent doctor. Through studies of a snake, he discovered a way to bring the dead back to life. This displeased the God of the underworld, Hades, who asked his brother Zeus to end the life of Asclepius. Zeus granted Hades this request and had the doctor killed by an arrow from another centaur. To appease Apollo, he put Asklepios as Ophiuchus with the Serpent into the sky.

Another version is associated with Hercules. Prometheus, who was punished by the Gods for the transmission of the fire to the people and thus chained to a rock, suffered infernal pain: Every day an Eagle came and ate from his liver. Because of his immortality, Prometheus could not escape the agony until Hercules killed the eagle with an arrow and released Prometheus.

In Roman antiquity, the arrow was later interpreted as the love arrow of Cupid, who initiated the passion of Zeus to the young Aquarius Ganymede.