Animation showing the movement of Sagittarius across the night sky as seen by an observer at 60º North latitude. Only Sagittarius is shown in the animation; all other constellations have been omitted for clarity. The directions and altitudes shown refer to a star located on the ecliptic in central Sagittarius, indicated by a small yellow cross (+).
The constellation's direction and altitude (Alt) are shown at hourly intervals before Meridian Transit (-1 hour, -2 hours, etc) and after Meridian Transit (+1 hour, +2 hours, etc).
At 60º North, the centre of Sagittarius reaches just 7º above the horizon as it crosses the meridian. Indeed, the Southern half of the constellation never rises above the horizon. The combination of low altitude and shallow rising angle mean that Sagittarius is visible in the sky for only 8 hours at a time - being only partly visible for most of this period.
The animation shows the whole event taking place in darkness. However, at such high latitudes, twilight lasts throughout the night during the Northern hemisphere summer months, which significantly hinders visibility of the constellations.
Scenery: Scandinavian fjord (modified screen capture from Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2004)
Copyright Martin J Powell Jul 2008