Capricornus (kăprĭkôrˈnəs) [key] [Lat., = the goat horn], inconspicuous southern constellation lying on the ecliptic (the sun's apparent path through the heavens) between Sagittarius and Aquarius; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Known as the Sea Goat, it has been depicted from earliest times either as a goat or as a figure with its forepart like that of a goat and its hind part like the tail of a fish. The tropic of Capricorn takes its name from this constellation, in which the winter solstice was located about 2,000 years ago. Now, because of the precession of the equinoxes, the winter solstice has moved westward into Sagittarius. Capricornus contains a globular star cluster that can be seen on a very clear night. The constellation reaches its highest point in the evening sky in late September.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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