Hopefully, you’ll have a dark, country sky for today’s view. If so, you might catch a glimpse of the constellation Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer. Its head is marked by the star Rasalhague.
Practiced sky watchers look for Ophiuchus to the north of the more prominent constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. As seen from mid-northern latitudes, though, Scorpius won’t completely rise into the sky until rather late evening. With an unobstructed view to the southeast, you should be able to catch Antares, the Scorpion’s bright ruddy star, by nightfall or early evening.
Ophiuchus is joined in legend and in the sky to the constellation of the Serpent, called Serpens. This is one constellation that looks to me like what it’s supposed to: a big guy holding a snake. The constellation is identified with Aesculapius, said to have been the first doctor, who learned his trade from a snake. It’s this same tradition that causes a staff with a serpent around it to appear in doctors’ offices and hospitals today.
Sky chart of Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer
It’s said that Aesculapius was such a powerful healer that he succeeded in raising the dead. This act angered Pluto, god of the underworld. To make peace among the gods, Zeus transported Aesculapius (Ophiuchus) to the night sky.
Ophiuchus is the constellation that astrologers forgot. The sun lies within its boundaries for a few weeks each year, from about November 30 to December 18. Many people are born between these dates, of course, yet no one ever claims to be “an Ophiuchus.”