Capricornus: The Sea Goat


Capricornus, The Sea Goat

Capricornus as depicted by Johann Bayer in his Uranometria (1603). Source image provided by — Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.

Capricornus Constellation Profile
Abbreviation: Cap Genitive: Capricorni Origin: Ancient
Location: Southern Hemisphere Size/Area: 414 sq. deg. Size Rank: 40
On Meridian: 9pm September 20th Best View (North): Autumn Best View (South):
Bordering Constellations: Aquarius, Aquila, Sagittarius, Microscopium, Piscis Austrinus


The Myth Behind the Constellation Capricornus

Capricornus, “the sea-goat”, is most commonly associated with Pan, the half-man, half-goat Greek god that invented the pan flute.  When the monster Typhon attacked Olympus and incapacitated Zeus, Pan convinced the other gods to go to Egypt and take the form of animals to hide.  When Pan leapt into the Nile, his bottom half turned into a fishtail, while his top half remained that of a goat.  After Typhon had left to look elsewhere, Pan and Hermes went and restored Zeus, who then went on to defeat Typhon.  After his victory Zeus put the constellation Capricorn into the night sky, to honor Pan and serve as a reminder of this great event.

Capricornus Constellation Points of Interest

Interesting Objects in the Constellation Capricornus
Name Messier NGC Type Visibility
M30 NGC 7099 Globular Cluster Binoculars


Bright Stars in Capricornus

These are the stars in Capricornus with a minimum magnitude of 3.0.

Name Bayer Name Magnitude Color Luminosity Distance
Deneb Algedi Alpha Capricorni 2.85  White 8.5 suns 39 ly