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This Week: View Scorpius, the Scorpion

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This Week: View Scorpius, the Scorpion

The most beautiful zodiacal constellation is low in the southern sky at dusk: Scorpius, the Scorpion.  Scorpions have two large claws in front, but this one had his claws clipped.

The scorpion is a magnificent sight; best appreciated in a dark sky without any interference from bright moonlight. Scorpius really looks like a scorpion — a long stinging tail curled over its back.

One star in the constellation clearly outshines the others, with a fiery tinge emphasizing the scorpion’s sinister appearance: Antares, the so-called “rival of Mars,” Ares being Greek for “Mars.”

Antares is a supergiant, located 604 light years away, over 9,000 times as luminous as the Sun and 700 times as large. If our Sun were the size of a baseball, Antares would measure 169-feet across. Yet the overall density of Antares is less than one-millionth that of the Sun.

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