In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. These areas are grouped around asterisms, patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky....
of the zodiac
In astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude which are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year...
, the one containing the galactic center. Its name is Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
for the archer
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...
, and its symbol is (Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...
U+2650 ♐), a stylized arrow. Sagittarius is commonly represented as a centaur
In Greek mythology, a centaur or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse...
drawing a bow. It lies between Ophiuchus
Ophiuchus is a large constellation located around the celestial equator. Its name is from the Greek "serpent-bearer", and it is commonly represented as a man grasping the snake that is represented by the constellation Serpens. Ophiuchus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century...
to the west and Capricornus
Capricornus is one of the constellations of the zodiac; it is often called Capricorn, especially when referring to the corresponding astrological sign. Its name is Latin for "horned male goat" or "goat horn", and it is commonly represented in the form of a sea-goat: a mythical creature that is half...
to the east.
The constellation's brighter stars (from left to right on the map: τ, ζ, σ, φ, λ, ε, δ, and γ2 Sagittarii) form an easily recognizable asterism
In astronomy, an asterism is a pattern of stars recognized on Earth's night sky. It may form part of an official constellation, or be composed of stars from more than one. Like constellations, asterisms are in most cases composed of stars which, while they are visible in the same general direction,...
known as 'the Teapot
A teapot is a vessel used for steeping tea leaves or a herbal mix in near-boiling water. Tea may be either in a tea bag or loose, in which case a tea strainer will be needed, either to hold the leaves as they steep or to catch the leaves inside the teapot when the tea is poured...