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Auriga (constellation)


Meaning in Englishthe Charioteer
Right ascension6 h
Visible to latitudeBetween 90° and -40°
On meridian9 p.m., May 20
 - Total
Ranked 38th
465 sq. deg.
Number of stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
Meteor showers
Bordering constellations

Auriga (the charioteer) is a northern constellation. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy, and counts as one of the 88 modern constellations. Its brightest star is Capella, which is associated with the mythological she-goat Amalthea. The three stars Epsilon, Zeta and Eta Aurigae are called the "Kids".

Notable features

Two peculiar binary stars, ε Aurigae and ζ Aurigae. ε Aurigae is one of the strangest binary stars. The orbital period is about 27 years, with an eclipse duration of about 18 months. The visible companion is a yellowish (F-class)supergiant. The type of the other star is not known. ζ Aurigae has a period of 970 days, the primary is a (K-class)supergiant and the secondary is a (B-class) main sequence star. Both these systems present a rare stage of binary evolution, as the components are in a short and active evolotionary stage.


The constellation may date back to Babylonian times as Rukubi, the chariot. The Romans identified this constellation with Erichthonius, the lame son of Hephaestus/Vulcan and Athena/Minerva, who invented the four-horse chariot.