Riding the wave

Ophiuchus (the Serpent Holder) anf the Serpent

Ophiuchus is a large constellation located around the celestial equator. Its name is Greek and means " snake-holder", and in fact it is commonly represented as a man grasping a snake, i.e., the constellation Serpens.

The two constellations belong to the same myth. Ophiuchus represents Asclepius, the Roman Aesculapius, son of Apollo and Koronis.

Asclepius, after killing a snake, noticed that the reptile was brought to life again by a second snake that made him swallow a herb. He thus realized the importance and properties of medicinal herbs, and learnt the use of them to treat all kinds of ailments and defeat death.

He therefore came to be a danger to the kingdom of the underworld and to the numerical balance of human life, and Zeus decided to pierce him with one of his thunderbolts. To avenge his death, in turn, Apollo killed the Cyclopes, the makers of the divine lightning.

The constellation Sagittarius (the Archer) is based on a different version of the myth of Asclepius.

The interposition of the Serpent Holder' body divides the snake of the constellation Serpens into two parts. The largest and brightest part of is the head, where the main star is Unuk-al-Hay, which in Arabic means "neck of a snake".

Serpentario and Snake