Ophiuchus Constellation Myths and Facts

Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer

Pronunciation: OAF-ee-YOO-kus/OFF-ee-YOO-kus
Ophiuchus, The Serpent Bearer
Ophiuchus and Serpens from John Flamsteed’s Atlas Coelestis. Source image provided by www.RareMaps.com — Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.
Ophiuchus Constellation Profile
Abbreviation: Oph Genitive: Ophiuchi
Origin: Ancient Location: Celestial Equator
Best View (North): Summer Best View (South):
Bordering Constellations: Hercules, Serpens Caput, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Serpens Cauda, Aquila

The Myth Behind the Constellation Ophiuchus

Ophiuchus, “The Serpent-Bearer”, represents Asclepius, a legendary physician who was the son of Apollo and Coronis.  He was educated by the centaur Chiron (see Centaurus), and was said to have learned the medicinal power of plants from a snake (see Serpens).  He became so skilled at healing that he could raise the dead.  This upset Hades, god of the underworld, who convinced Zeus to kill Asclepius.  Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt and placed the healer in the night sky, along with his serpent, Serpens.

Ophiuchus Constellation Points of Interest

Interesting Objects in the Constellation Ophiuchus
Name Messier NGC Type Visibility
M9 NGC 6333 Globular Cluster Binoculars
M10 NGC 6254 Globular Cluster Binoculars
M12 NGC 6218 Globular Cluster Binoculars
M14 NGC 6402 Globular Cluster Binoculars
M19 NCG 6273 Globular Cluster Binoculars
M62 NGC 6266 Globular Cluster Binoculars
M107 NGC 6171 Globular Cluster Small Scope

Bright Stars in Ophiuchus

These are the stars in Ophiuchus with a minimum magnitude of 3.0.
Name Bayer Name Magnitude Color Luminosity Distance
Rasalhague Alpha Ophiuchi 2.08  White 28 suns 47 ly
Sabik Eta Ophiuchi 2.43  White 71 suns 84 ly
Han Zeta Ophiuchi 2.54  Blue 1,093 suns 458 ly
Yed Prior Delta Ophiuchi 2.71  Red 1,595 suns 170 ly
Cebalrai Beta Ophiuchi 2.76  Orange 93 suns 82 ly