Capricornus kăprĭkôr´nəs [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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