The constellation of Ophiuchus is a straggling, sprawling collection of second and third magnitude stars that straddles the border of the spring and summer groups. The constellation is one of antiquity, supposedly introduced by the Greeks and possibly represents the founder of medicine Aescalapius, the healer who accompanied the Greek forces during the Trojan war. The name Ophiuchus means "Serpent Bearer", and on old star maps the figure is depicted with the snake Serpens wriggling in his arms. Why a snake has come to be associated with medicine is a bit of a mystery, although the Israelite story of the "Copper Serpent" which Moses erected in the Sinai wilderness in the 15th century B.C., to combat the poison of the various creatures found there is a plausible origin of this stellar tale, as no doubt the Greeks were aware of this story through their own historians such as Herodotus, and transferred it to their own mythology.

Notable Objects

Messier 10, Messier 12, Messier 107, Messier 9, all bright globular clusters. The Star cluster IC 4665