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The constellation Auriga is also known as the Charioteer.

Mythology and Legends

According to Greek mythology, Auriga represents Erichthonius, the fourth King of Athens and the son of Vulcan and Minerva. He was born deformed, and his ailments led him to develop the four-horsed chariot. For his invention and his strength of will, he was placed in the sky.

Another legend surrounding the constellation is that of Auriga, who was the son of Mercury. He was also the King of Pisa and a legendary charioteer.

Capella, a bright star in Auriga, represents a She-Goat who suckled Jupiter. According to legend, Jupiter accidently broke one of the She-Goat's horns off while playing. In his grief, he charmed the horn to magically fill with whatever the bearer wished for. This became known as the Cornucopia, or the Horn of Plenty.

In India, Auriga was known as the Heart of Brahma. Peruvians knew Auriga as Colca, a watcher of shephards.

The Egyptians worshipped Capella in Denderah in the temple of Karnak. The Arabs thought Capella was the Driver, who drove the other stars forward and watched over them.

         Menkalinan         Capella
               /               |
              /                |
             /                 |
            /                  |  X Epsilon Aurigae
           *                   |
            \                  |
             |                 | 
              \                |
               |               |
                \              |
                 |             |
                  \    ____----*

 Note: Epsilon Aurigae is a variable star 
       with an extremely long period of
       27 years. Menkalinan is a binary
       system with two equal mass stars
       orbiting each other with a period
       of four days.

The center of the constellation is particularly rich in star clusters, easily observed with modest equipment.

liveforever says: Capella, Alpha Aurigae, is very similar to our sun - one of the nearest stars to match the Sun's spectral class fairly closely.

Au*ri"ga (?), n. [L., charioteer.] Anat.

The Charioteer, or Wagoner, a constellation in the northern hemisphere, situated between Perseus and Gemini. It contains the bright star Capella.


© Webster 1913.

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