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Scutum (shield)

Location: Southern Hemisphere
Right Ascension: 19h
Declination: -10º
Source: Astronomer Johannes Hevelius
Scutum Constellation

The story behind the name: This constellation was originally named Scutum Sobiescianum, Latin for Shield of Sobieski. Jan III Sobieski was King of Poland from 1674 to 1696. At that time Poland was much larger than its current borders, including parts of what are now Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. The Ottoman Empire, based in Constantinople, was pushing at Europe's eastern borders. It already had a foothold in the Balkans and had captured parts of Ukraine. In 1683 the Ottomans advanced further into Europe and, with allies such as Tartars, besieged Vienna, capitol of Leopold I, head of the Holy Roman Empire. Sobieski gathered an army, left his own lands, and came to lift the siege of Vienna. He was successful, and is credited with turning the tide of the Ottoman invasion.

Johannes Hevelius' Scutum from Uranographia (1690)

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire at Vienna was considered a major victory by Europeans, not only in its political but also its cultural and religious ramifications. Hevelius named the constellation in honor of Sobieski.

Introduction to Constellations | Constellation Sources | Constellations Index

Objects observed by Chandra in Scutum: