Constellation guide to the 88 official constellations which divide up the sky. These constellations are used to help navigate the celestial sphere. The Constellations are patterns in the sky which have been to invented and have deep mythology behind them. Constellations cover massive areas in the sky and as such are very easy to find.
Some of the constellations have very familiar names, such as Leo, Gemini, Virgo and Aquarius. There are 12 of these constellations and they form the Zodiac. The Zodiac constellations follow the line of the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere.
Ophiuchus is depicted as a man supporting a Serpens; the interposition of his body divides the snake into two parts, Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda, which are nonetheless counted as one constellation.
One interpretation is that the figure represents the legendary physician Asclepius, who learned the secrets of life and death from one serpent bringing another some herbs which healed it (Asclepius had previously tried to kill it). In order to avoid the human race becoming immortal under Asclepius' care, Zeus eventually killed him with a bolt of lightning, but placed him in the heavens to honour his good works.
The brightest stars in Ophiuchus include α Ophiuchi, called Rasalhague (at the figure's head), and λ Ophiuchi, a triple star (at his elbow). RS Ophiuchi is part of a strange class called recurrent novae, whose brightness increase at irregular intervals by hundreds of times in a period of just a few days. It is thought to be at the brink of becoming a type-1a supernova.
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