Constellation Arrow (Sagitta - Sge)

The name, the story & the myth of Arrow

The myth of the constellation Arrow for the Greeks, this constellation was even smaller than the present one. In spite of the modest dimension (4th of arc), it is a characteristic and well known group since the antiquity.
The ancestral authors, both Jewish, Persian and classical, described it as an arrow, depicting it in flight from West to East or vice versa depending on the mythological episode to which they linked it. The main reference is however to the story of Heracles (equal to Hercules) who during his Eleventh Fatigue threw the dart to save Prometheus, the hero who dared to steal fire from Jupiter to give it to men.
Jupiter, of course, didn't take it well. So he chained Prometheus to the Caucasus, where during the day an eagle ate his liver. Prometheus was immortal, so at night his liver grew back ready to be eaten again by the eagle, in an eternal torture. Heracles, with his arrow, put an end to torture by killing the eagle. In another myth is the arrow with which the hero in one of the docic labors, kills the birds that infest the swamp of Stinfalo, who sowed terror in Arcadia ghermendo men and animals (represented by Swan, Eagle and Lyra, here interpreted as a vulture).
The Scum could however be that of Eros (Cupid), who ignited Zeus' passion for Ganymede. Or the arrow shot by Sagittarius against Scorpio.


Position of the constellation ArrowSummer constellation, is inside the summer triangle formed by Deneb (Swan), Vega (Lira) and Altair (Aquila), precisely at about ten degrees north of Altair.
Visible all summer long, it passes in meridian at the end of July around midnight.
The constellation is tiny, with only 80° squares of occupied sky and second only to the Southern Cross.

The celestial bodies

Star map of the Arrow constellationThe Greek letters within the Arrow constellation are arranged at random. Precisely, the brightest star is Gamma (3.5 magnitude), followed by Delta (3.8). The alpha and beta stars are definitely softer, with 4.4 magnitudes and very similar spectra.
Particular objects are U Sge and WZ: the first is a clearly visible variable already with binoculars, the second could be a recurring nova.
Among non-stellar bodies, M71 is a very rich globular cluster whose nature - precisely because of this - is much debated.

One of the most "talked about" stars in the media is V Sge, a binary system consisting of a white dwarf and an ordinary star, a system with material transfer to the advantage of the white dwarf. Just this transfer of matter will determine, according to astronomers, an increasing increase in brightness until the white dwarf will reach the Chandrasekhar Limit by exploding. So far it can be said, the funny thing is that someone fixed the year of the explosion in 2083. Since 1907 the brightness of the system has risen ten times, but as always happens exaggeratedly we are already talking about a star visible by day, brighter than Venus and with a very precise date: 2083! (Binary Star V Sagittae to Explode as very Bright 'Nova' by Century's End)

Audio Video Constellation Arrow (Sagitta - Sge)
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