Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
If you can see Antares and the moon – and if your sky is unobstructed in the direction toward the southern horizon – you might be able to pick out a graceful looping stream of stars, despite the moonlit glare. These stars represent the Scorpion’s curved Tail. They are the reason Scorpius has been identified as a Scorpion by stargazers.
Now notice two stars in the Scorpion’s Tail, Shaula and Lesath. Together, these two represent the Scorpion’s Stinger. These two stars, so close together on our sky’s dome, give the impression of being physically bound. But they are not. They lie at different distances from Earth, with Shaula some 350 light-years away and Lesath about 500 light-years away.
After the moon drops out of the sky in late July and early August, look at the Scorpion in all his starlit majesty! In a dark country sky, you will have no trouble seeing the Scorpion’s J-shaped loop of stars and the two stinger stars, Shaula and Lesath.
Written by Deborah Byrd