How to identify Capricornus

Basic facts about Capricornus
  • Capricornus is not really a goat, It's half goat and half fish
  • It is the second faintest zodiac sign after cancer hence it's quite difficult to observe
  • The brightest star in Capricornus is Deneb Algedi which has an apparent magnitude of 2.85
            Where is it located?
Being a zodiac sign it's located on the ecliptic. It lies between Sagittarius and Aquarius and is surrounded by Aquila, Microscopium and Piscis Austrinus. Now if you are Starring at that part of the sky then you would notice few constellations that would stand out like Scorpius and Sagittarius that have relatively bright stars. The other thing that you would notice is Formalhaut which is the brightest star of Piscis Austrinus. Now if you follow the ecliptic you would first get Scorpius, Sagittarius then a patch of sky with really faint star followed by Aquarius. Now it's this patch of faint stars that we need to look at. First of all search for the brightest star amongst the faint patch. That star would be Deneb Algedi which is also the delta star of the constellation. Now you can imagine this constellation to be like a giant "V" or like a crooked triangle and Deneb Algedi is one of its vertex. The next brightest star is Beta Cap. which has a magnitude of 3.05 which forms the star close to the other vertex. The third brightest star is alpha 2 cap. this star is right next to the Beta cap. Once you find these three stars the rest of the constellation should be a little more easier to spot provided you have a clear sky.
The red line shown in the picture is the ecliptic.
Capricornus is not particularly an  exciting constellation as far as deep sky objects are concerned. but the one object that's worth observing is the M30. It has an apparent magnitude of 7.7 hence you would require an optical aid to view this object. It is a globular star cluster.


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