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The Fishhook

Right Ascension16h51 to 17h51
Declination-43° 31' to -34° 20'
Area (sq deg)38
Brightest StarShaula
Optimum VisibilityJune / July

An asterism formed by the curving chain of stars that represents the tail of Scorpius the Scorpion. This looping shape is irresistably reminiscent of a curving fishing-hook with a barbed end, and has been recognised as such by cultures around the world. Tradition in Hawai'i, for example, sees the entire constellation of Scorpius as 'Maui's Fishhook', representing the magical hook with which the folk hero Maui hauled the Hawai'ian islands from the sea.

Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas

In western tradition, the 'Fishhook' is generally restricted to the stars running eastward from Larawag (Epsilon Scorpii) in the middle of the constellation, bending southwards and then back northwards, then terminating with the Scorpion's sting forming the barb of the hook. All of these stars are relatively bright, with the brightest being second magnitude Shaula at the hook's end, so the entire pattern is relatively easy to pick out against the background of the Milky Way.

The Fishhook formation lies next to Sagittarius in the sky, and thus in the general direction of the Galaxy's centre. The Core itself is obscured by clouds of dark material, but the two easternmost stars of the Fishhook (Iota1 Scorpii and Fuyue) can be used as pointers towards it. An imaginary line running approximately northeastwards through these two stars points towards the location of Galactic Nucleus within Sagittarius, a few degrees further along the band of the Milky Way.


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