Capricornus is the 40th biggest constellation in the sky, occupying an area of 414 square degrees.
It lies in the fourth quadrant of the southern hemisphere (SQ4) and can be seen at latitudes between +60° and -90°.
The neighboring constellations areAquarius, Aquila,Microscopium, Piscis Austrinus, and Sagittarius.
Capricornus has three stars with known planets and also contains a Messier object,M30 (NGC 7099).
The brightest star in the constellation is Deneb Algedi, Delta Capricorni.
There are five meteor showers associated with Capricornus: the Alpha Capricornids, the Chi Capricornids, the Sigma Capricornids, the Tau Capricornids, and the Capricorniden-Sagittarids.
Capricornus belongs to the Zodiac family of constellations, along with Aries, Taurus,Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Aquarius, and Pisces.
Even though Capricornus is the second faintest constellation in the sky, afterCancer, it is associated with myths and images that go way back to the 21st century BC.
The story of Capricornus originated with the Babyonians and Sumerians. The Sumerians knew it as the goat-fish, or SUHUR-MASH-HA, while the Babylonian star catalogues dating back to 1000 BC mention the constellation as MUL.SUHUR.MAŠ, also meaning “goat fish.” In the early Bronze Age, Capricornus marked the winter solstice and, in modern astrology, Capricorn’s rule still begins on the first day of winter.
The Greeks associated the constellation with the forest deity Pan, who had the legs and horns of a goat. Crotus, his son, is usually identified with another amphibious creature, represented by the neighboring constellation Sagittarius.
Pan was placed in the sky by Zeus in gratitude for his coming to the other gods’ rescue on several occasions. During the gods’ war with the Titans, Pan helped scare the Titans away by blowing his conch shell and, later, he warned the gods that Typhon, a monster sent by Gaia to fight the gods, was approaching. He also suggested that the gods disguise themselves as animals until the danger passed.
In the myth, Pan eluded the monster himself by jumping into the river Nile and turning the lower part of his body into that of a fish. Zeus eventually killed Typhon with his thunderbolts and, in reference to the myth, Capricornus is still often depicted as a goat with the tail of a fish.
In another story, Capricornus is identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled Zeus when he was an infant, hiding from his father Cronos. Cronos had devoured his other children, all future gods and goddesses, because of a prophecy that he would be overthrown by one of them.