Scorpius (Latin for scorpion, symbol , Unicode ♏) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. In western astrology it is known as "Scorpio". It lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It is a large constellation located in the southern hemisphere near the center of the Milky Way.
The star δ Sco, after having been a stable 2.3 magnitude star flared in July 2000 to 1.9 in a matter of weeks. it has since become a variable star fluctuating between 2.0 and 1.6. This means that at its brightest it is the second brightest star in Scorpius.
The star once designated γ Sco (despite being well within the boundaries of Libra) is today known as σ Lib. Moreover, the entire constellation of Libra was considered to be claws of Scorpius (Chelae Scorpionis) in Ancient Greek times, with a set of scales held aloft by Astraea (represented by adjacent Virgo) being formed from these western-most stars during later Greek times. The division into Libra was formalised during Roman times.
λ Sco and υ Sco, two stars at the end of the scorpion's tail that appear very close together, are sometimes referred to as the Cat's Eyes.
In one version, Apollo sent the scorpion after Orion, having grown jealous of Artemis' attentions to Orion. Later, in contrition for killing her friend, Apollo helped Artemis hang Orion's image in the night sky. However, the scorpion was also placed up there, and every time it appears on the horizon, Orion starts to sink into the other side of the sky, still running from the attacker.
Scorpius also appears in one version of the story of Phaethon, the mortal son of Helios, the sun. Phaethon asked to drive the sun-chariot for a day. Phaethon lost control of the chariot. The horses, already out of control, were scared by the great celestial scorpion with its sting raised to strike, and the inexperienced boy lost control of the chariot, as the sun wildly went about the sky (this is said to have formed the constellation Eridanus). Finally, Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt to stop the rampage.
In Maori mythology, this constellation can be Maui's magic jawbone (used to fish up the North Island of New Zealand), the front of Tama-rereti's waka (used to ferry the stars into the sky) or one of the posts Tane used to hold Ranginui (the sky-father) in the sky. While three posts (Sirius, Matariki/The Pleiades and Orion) hold up the top half of Ranginui, only a single post (Scorpius) supports the lower half of his body. It therefore appears bent under the weight.