Auriga Constellation Myths and Facts

Auriga: The Charioteer

Pronunciation: aw-RYE-guh Auriga, The Charioteer Auriga as depicted by Johann Bayer in his Uranometria (1624). Source image provided by — Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.
Auriga Constellation Profile
Abbreviation: Aur Genitive: Aurigae
Origin: Ancient Location: Northern Hemisphere
Best View (North): Winter Best View (South):
Bordering Constellations: Camelopardalis, Perseus, Taurus, Gemini, Lynx

The Myth Behind the Constellation Auriga

The Greeks saw Auriga as King Erichthonius of Athens, son of Hephaestus.  He was raised by Athena and invented of the four-horse chariot known as a quadriga, which he made in the image of the Sun’s chariot.  He created the chariot to cover up his legs, which were said to be serpent.  To honor Erichthonius for his great invention, upon his death, Zeus put him in the night sky.

Auriga Constellation Points of Interest

Interesting Objects in the Constellation Auriga
Name Messier NGC Type Visibility
M36 NGC 1960 Open Spiral Binoculars
M37 NGC 2099 Open Cluster Binoculars
M38 NGC 1912 Open Cluster Binoculars

Bright Stars in Auriga

These are the stars in Auriga with a minimum magnitude of 3.0.
Name Bayer Name Magnitude Color Luminosity Distance
Capella Alpha Aurigae 0.08  Yellow 162 suns 42 ly
Menkalinan Beta Aurigae 1.90  White 109 suns 82 ly
Mahasim Theta Aurigae 2.62  White 331 suns 173 ly
Hassaleh Iota Aurigae 2.69  Orange 10,242 suns 512 ly