English Name: The Charioteer
Genitive: Aurigae or Capella
Hemisphere: Northern Hemisphere
Location: Between the constellations of Taurus and Camelopardis.
Visible between latitudes: +90 and -40 degrees
Best season: Winter
Seen in three seasons: Autumn, Winter and Spring
Best seen in: January/February
Seen between: October and March
Right Ascension (RA): 06 hour
Declination (DEC): +40 degrees
Area (square degrees): 657 (21st)
Aurgia (The Charioteer)
- A large constellation – containing the brightest star, Capella (Alpha Aurigae).
- The sixth brightest star in the night sky, at magnitude +0.1.
- To the naked-eye, it’s appearing yellow; consisting of two yellow-coloured giants stars that orbit each other every 104 days.
- Capella is circumpolar anywhere north of 50 degrees latitude.
- The Milky Way passes through it, so the area contains several Open Clusters – Messier 36, Messier 37 and Messier 38.
- M36 – Small bright Open Cluster, readily visible in binoculars.
- M37 – Very Large Open Cluster, almost the diameter of the Full Moon – hazy spot in binoculars, but resolves into a large numbers of stars by a telescope.
- M38 – Slightly fainter than M36, but is larger – sometimes be resolved with binoculars.
Other objects in Auriga
- 22x objects: New General Catalogue (NGC)
- 7x objects: Index Catalogue (IC)
- 14x objects: Collinder Catalog (Cr)
Features of Interest
- NGC2281 – an other Open Cluster visible in binoculars.
- IC 405 – Flaming Star Nebula showing the “smoke” of reflection nebula; use an OIII or H-Beta filter if possible.
- Capella (Alpha Aur)
- Menkalinan (Beta Aur)
- Al Anz (Epsilon Aur)
- Haedi (Zeta Aur)
- Hoedus II (Eta Aur)
- Hassaleh (Iota Aur)
- Photo of the constellation – Auriga, as it appears to the naked-eye (Lines have been added for clarity.)
- Sky Chart – Auriga
- List of stars in Auriga.
Back to The 88 Constellations Lists page.