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Scutum (constellation)

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Scutum (constellation)

For the Roman shield, see scutum (shield). For the zootomical term, see scute.

Scutum
Constellation
List of stars in Scutum
Abbreviation Sct
Genitive Scuti
Pronunciation /ˈskjuːtəm/,
genitive /ˈskjuːt/
Symbolism the Shield
Right ascension 18.7 h
Declination −10°
Quadrant SQ4
Area 109 sq. deg. (84th)
Main stars 2
Bayer/Flamsteed
stars
7
Stars with planets 1
Stars brighter than 3.00m 0
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly) 0
Brightest star α Scuti (3.85m)
Nearest star LHS 3398
(41.54 ly, 12.74 pc)
Messier objects 2
Meteor showers June Scutids
Bordering
constellations
Aquila
Sagittarius
Serpens Cauda
Visible at latitudes between +80° and −90°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of August.

Scutum is a small constellation introduced in the seventeenth century. Its name is Latin for shield.

History


Scutum is the only constellation that owes its name to a non-classical historical figure. It was created in 1684 by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius[1] (Jan Heweliusz), who originally named it Scutum Sobiescianum (Shield of Sobieski) to commemorate the victory of the Polish forces led by King John III Sobieski (Jan III Sobieski) in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Later, the name was shortened to Scutum.

Five bright stars of Scutum (α Sct, β Sct, δ Sct, ε Sct and η Sct) were previously known as 1, 6, 2, 3, and 9 Aquilae respectively.[2]

Notable features

Stars

Scutum is not a bright constellation, with the brightest star, Alpha Scuti, at magnitude 3.85. But some stars are notable in the constellation. Beta Scuti is the second brightest at magnitude 4.22, followed by Delta Scuti at magnitude 4.72. Beta Scuti is a binary system, with the primary with a spectral type resembling to the Sun, although it's 1,270 times brighter. Delta Scuti is a bluish white giant star, which is now coming at the direction of the Solar System. Within 1.3 million years it will come as close to 10 light years from Earth, and will be much brighter than Sirius by that time.

Scutum is also notable for having UY Scuti, a red supergiant pulsating variable star. At 1,708 ± 192 solar radii, it is one of the largest stars currently known.

Deep sky objects

Although not a large constellation, Scutum contains several open clusters, as well as a globular cluster and a planetary nebula. The two best known deep sky objects in Scutum are M11 (the Wild Duck Cluster) and the open cluster M26 (NGC 6694). The globular cluster NGC 6712 and the planetary nebula IC 1295 can be found in the eastern part of the constellation, only 24 arcminutes apart.

The most prominent open cluster in Scutum is the Wild Duck Cluster, M11. It was named by William H. Smyth in 1844 for its resemblance in the eyepiece to a flock of ducks in flight. The cluster, 6200 light-years from Earth and 20 light-years in diameter, contains approximately 3000 stars, making it a particularly rich cluster. It is 220 million years old.[3]

Space Exploration

The Space probe Pioneer 11 is moving in the direction of this constellation, though it will not be nearing any of the stars in this constellation for many thousands of years, by which time its batteries will be long dead.

References

See also

External links

  • The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Scutum
  • Star Tales – Scutum
  • Scutum Constellation at Constellation Guide

, −10° 00′ 00″

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