This is a large but well-defined constellation to the east of Sagittarius, and is the next "Zodiacal" group in which planets may be well seen. Capricornus is something of a mystery, its name has always been given as the "Sea Goat", and on old star maps it is depicted as a strange mixture of Goat and Fish. It is an ancient constellation, again being formed by the Babylonians, and being identified by the Phoenicians as their god Dagon, who apparently was half man half fish. The Greeks applied this group of stars to their god Pan, another half and half creature, this time a combination of man and goat; it was in this form that the librarian Eratosthenes recorded it at the Alexandrian library in the second century BCE. Chinese astrologers knew it as the “Southern gate of the Sun”, a reference to the fact that the constellation contains the point where, at the Winter solstice, the Sun begins its move northward.

Notable Objects

Messier 30, a globular cluster