Starwatch: the time of the scorpion

·1 min read
Starwatch chart 29 June 2020 constellation Scorpius

As we head into summer in the northern hemisphere, we reach the time of the scorpion. The southern zodiacal constellation of Scorpius, the scorpion, reaches its peak visibility in the northern hemisphere. Even so, from the UK, the constellation never rises fully into the sky; half of it always remains hidden below the horizon.

Enough of the constellation appears for the true jewel to be seen: blood red Antares. Its distinctive colour can be seen twinkling in the warm evening air, just above the southern horizon. The chart shows the view looking south from London at midnight tonight. Once seen, never forgotten, Antares is a herald of northern summer.

Just to the east is the central “teapot” of Sagittarius and the bright planets Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter is the brighter of the two. From the southern hemisphere, Scorpius rises much higher in the eastern sky. Not only can the pincers, containing the star Dschubba, be seen, but so too can the curved tail, containing the creature’s deadly sting. Antares marks the scorpion’s head.

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