Star Names:

Scutum


Map of The Constellation of Scutum
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Scutum is a constellation in the southern hemisphere. It is the fifth smallest constellation in the sky. Its name means "shield" in Latin. Scutum was introduced by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. He named it Scutum Sobiescianum, meaning "the shield of Sobieski," in honour of the Polish-Austrian-German forces' victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. The allied forces were led by King of Poland John III Sobieski, who also later helped Hevelius rebuild his observatory after a fire. The constellation's name was later shortened to Scutum, the shield.

The constellation Scutum occupies an area of 109 square degrees and does not contain any stars with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +80° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of August.

Scutum does not have any stars brighter than fourth magnitude. The brightest star in the constellation is [7749] alpha Scuti, also known as Ionnina ("of John"), an orange giant classified as a variable star, lying 174 light-years away from Earth.

[7750] beta Scuti, the second brightest star, is a double star, 690 light-years distant. It consists of a yellow bright giant and a fainter companion.

Another notable star is [7753] delta Scuti, a white giant with two optical companions, about 187 light-years distant from Earth. Delta Scuti is the prototype of the Delta Scuti variable stars, those that exhibit variations in brightness due to pulsations of the surface.

Scutum also contains several interesting deep sky objects. The most notable ones are the Wild Duck Cluster, or Messier 11 (NGC 6705), and Messier 26 (NGC 6694).

The Wild Duck Cluster is an open cluster, discovered in the 17th century by the German astronomer Gottfried Kirch. The cluster contains about 2,900 stars and is one of the richest and densest open clusters ever discovered. About 500 stars in it are brighter than magnitude 14. Some of the brighter stars form a triangle that resembles a flock of ducks, which is how the cluster got its name. The age of the Wild Duck Cluster is estimated to be about 220 million years.

Messier 26 is another open cluster, approximately 5,000 light-years distant and 22 light-years in diameter. The age of the cluster is believed to be 89 million years. A notable feature in the cluster is a low star density zone around the nucleus, likely obscured by dark interstellar matter.

Scutum belongs to the Hercules family of constellations, along with Hercules, Sagitta, Aquila, Lyra, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Hydra, Sextans, Crater, Corvus, Ophiuchus, Serpens, Centaurus, Lupus, Corona Australis, Ara, Triangulum Australe and Crux.

Constellations directly bordering Scutum are Aquila, Sagittarius and Serpens Cauda.


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