Southern Hemisphere

width lim depth 111 size RANKING 11111 fuLLY vislBLE 59°n-75°s

Ophiuchus is a large constellation straddling the celestial equator, representing a man holding a snake. Ophiuchus's head adjoins Hercules in the north while his feet rest on Scorpius, the scorpion, in the south. The Sun passes through Ophiuchus in the first half of December, but despite this the constellation is not regarded as a member of the zodiac. In mythology, Ophiuchus is identified with Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine who had the power to revive the dead. Hades, god of the Underworld, feared that this ability endangered his trade in dead souls and so asked Zeus to strike Asclepius down with a thunderbolt. Zeus placed Asclepius among the stars, where he is seen holding a snake, the symbol of healing.

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