The constellation Scorpius the Scorpion is one of the few constellations that looks like its name. The red star Antares lies at the Scorpion’s Heart. Two “stinger” stars, Shaula and Lesath, mark the Scorpion’s Tail. Scorpius has another charming feature you should come to know. It’s called the Crown of the Scorpion.
Look for Scorpius as a J-shaped assemblage of stars arcing across the southern sky each summer as seen from the Northern Hemisphere – and crossing overhead in winter skies as seen from the Southern Hemisphere. The Scorpion’s Crown consists of three stars near Antares, which is the brightest star in Scorpius. Individually, the Crown stars are Graffias (or Acrab), Dschubba, and Pi Scorpii.
It’s rare when star patterns on our sky’s dome have anything to do with real associations of stars in space, but these three stars are thought to be loosely bound by gravity. All three are located at approximately the same distance, about 500 light-years away. All are thought to be members of the Scorpius-Centaurus Association, which was first recognized by astronomers in the early part of the 20th century.
About 100 stars are known in the Scorpius-Centaurus Association, including Antares.
The Scorpius-Centaurus stars share a common motion through space. They were probably all born from a single vast cloud of gas and dust. In other words, these stars are much like a family – loosely bound – sharing a common history.
Bottom line: How to find the three stars – Graffias, Dschubba and Pi Scorpii – known as the Crown of the Scorpion.
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