Sagittarius, a captivating constellation gracing our night sky, invites stargazers on a journey through mythology and celestial beauty. Positioned in the southern hemisphere, this zodiacal constellation is rich in lore and captivating features. Often depicted as a centaur wielding a bow and arrow, Sagittarius traces its origins to ancient Greek mythology, embodying the legendary centaur Chiron.

Time for a cuppa!

What distinguishes Sagittarius, drawing both astronomers and casual observers alike, is the celestial asterism known as the “Teapot.” The Teapot is a delightful celestial coincidence that transforms the seemingly random arrangement of stars into a whimsical and recognisable form. Comprising the brightest stars in the heart of Sagittarius, this arrangement forms a distinct outline resembling a traditional teapot, complete with a spout, handle, and lid. In the Southern Hemisphere, Sagittarius appears upside down, and so is the “Teapot”. 

The “Teapot” is what’s known as an asterism rather than a constellation. A constellation is an area of the sky that the International Astronomical Union officially recognises. On the other hand, an asterism is a pattern of stars that we can use to make up a recognisable shape or object. Some asterisms form part of official constellations. 

The star Delta Sagittarii marks the point where the lid, body and spout join. The stars Kaus Media, Kaus Australis, Ascella, and Phi Sagittarii form the body of the pot; Kaus Borealis is the point of the lid; Alnasl is the tip of the spout; and Nunki and Tau Sagittarii are the handle. These same stars originally formed the bow and arrow of Sagittarius. Under good conditions, the Milky Way rises like steam from the teapot.

Whether you’re an avid astronomer or a casual observer, Sagittarius and its Teapot offer a delightful opportunity to connect with the mysteries of the night sky. As you gaze upon this celestial archer and its whimsical teapot form, you’re not just witnessing distant stars — you’re engaging with the rich tapestry of human imagination, mythology, and the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos.

Grab a nice cup of tea, head outside, use the Moon as your guide, and see if you can see the “Teapot”.

Use the above image as a guide. Astronomical images provided by SkySafari, a Simulation Curriculum Company, All rights reserved

When and where to look:

Look directly above at around 8.30pm on 16th August.

Something Interesting

Beyond its charming Teapot configuration, Sagittarius is also home to the stunning galactic centre of our Milky Way. A treasure trove for astronomers, this region hosts a myriad of star clusters, nebulae, and celestial wonders. Its proximity to the centre of our galaxy makes Sagittarius a focal point for those seeking to explore the depths of our cosmic neighbourhood.

Want More Stargazing Tips?

There’s always something interesting happening in the night sky and country WA is the best place to catch all the action!