Short Constellation Guide

12 Signs of the Zodiac

Sternbilder Aries Pisces Aquarius Capricorn Sagitarius Scorpio Libra Virgo Leo Cancer Gemini Taurus

The Horned Goat (Capricorn)

The Horned Goat is bordered by the Archer (in the west) and the Water- Carrier (in the east). Next to Cancer, it is the dimmest of the zodiac constellations. Its brighter stars form a triangle. Although it is weak, this constellation is one of the oldest. Because it lies in a region of the sky known as “sea,” Capricorn was regarded as a “sea-goat.” On 3000 year old Babylonian plates, drawings were found of a goat or a goat-fish. The constellation may owe its great age to the fact that at the time of its naming, the winter solstice occurred in the northern hemisphere when the sun was in Capricorn. Worries about the renewal of the sun may have made the astronomical and astrological observation of this region of the sky very important at the time. Also, the southernmost position of the sun (reached in the northern hemisphere at the winter solstice) is reached on the so-called Tropic of Capricorn. This name also applies to that geographical latitude where the sun stands directly overhead at noon during this solstice.

From mythology – an interesting story that has been told for many centuries

The constellation is often drawn as a sea-goat, a goat with a fish‘s tail. A myth on this topic tells of the goat-god Pan; as he was attacked by the monster, Typhon, he tried to escape by jumping into the Nile. The party of his body above the water's surface remained goat-like, but the parts underneath the water transformed into a fish.

Finding the constellation in the sky

In both hemispheres, the Goat is best seen in the September night sky. If you are in the northern hemisphere and you look to the south at 9 pm, you will find it under the Water-Carrier (Aquarius) and between the stars Altair in the Eagle (Aquila) and Fomalhaut in the Southern Fish (Piscis Austrinus).