The Bow and Arrow of Sagittarius


The bow and arrow of the archer were formed by the stars Gamma (γ), Delta (δ), Epsilon (ε), Lambda (λ), Mu (μ), Phi (φ), Sigma (σ), Tau (τ), and Zeta (ζ) Sagittarii, as seen here on a detail from John Flamsteed’s Atlas Coelestis (1729). These same stars, minus Mu, outline the present-day asterism of the Teapot – mouseover to see its outline. Phi, Sigma, Tau, and Zeta are the Teapot’s handle, Lambda marks the top of its lid, with Delta, Epsilon, and Gamma forming the triangular spout.
The subset of Lambda (λ), Phi (φ), Sigma (σ), Tau (τ), and Zeta (ζ) Sagittarii form a ladle shape called the Milk Dipper.
Illustration courtesy National Library of Australia.