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SkyTour - Scorpio - The Scorpion

Ophiuchus Sagittarius

Scorpio can be seen near the southern horizon by observers in the Northern Hemisphere near Ophiuchus. It's quite bright and looks like an elegantly drawn, cursive "S". The "S" is divided up into three groups of stars - each containing three stars in a short line.

In the center is a red supergiant star called Antares. Antares has blown up to 300 times our Sun's diameter because it has reached the end of its life, and no longer has any hydrogen to turn into helium through a nuclear fusion reaction. It's through a similar reaction that our Sun creates heat and light. In about 6 billion years or so, our Sun will also run out of fuel and become a red giant, but Antares was initially a larger star than the Sun so its demise will be quite different. The Sun will eventually blow up to about 100 times its current diameter and then slowly contract into a cold white dwarf. Antares will eventually become a super nova. For a very brief time it will emit as much light and energy as all the stars of the galaxy. Most of the heavier elements that make up the Earth and our very bodies were created in a super nova explosion. Then Antares will also contract. But instead of ending up as mere white dwarf, it huge mass will produce a gravitational pull so intense that not even light can escape from it and all the mass of Antares will be contracted into a single geometric point called a "black hole".

Scorpio is one of the brighter constellations of the Zodiac.

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