The constellation Serpens Caput, the Snake’s Head, lies well off the band of the Milky Way and holds relatively few deep-sky sights. But it’s not completely barren. Let’s have a look at three targets in this ancient constellation for stargazers equipped with modest optics and an urge to see something good [Read more…] about Going Deep in the Snake’s HeadShare This:
In last month’s constellation tour, we examined the dazzling stars of the constellation Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. This month, we move due south to the northern section of the constellation Serpens, the only constellation split into two parts. These are the stars of Serpens Caput, the ‘head of the snake’, which zigzags vertically along the celestial sphere, just north of the celestial equator, and just west of the much larger constellation Ophiuchus, the ‘serpent bearer’. The stars of Serpens Caput are visible in the northern and southern hemispheres [Read more…] about The Constellation Serpens Caput, the ‘Snake’s Head’Share This:
Corona Borealis, or the Northern Crown, is a small but lovely semicircular constellation just to the east of Böotes, the Herdsman. In the months of May and June, shortly after sunset, the constellation lies nearly overhead for northern-hemisphere observers, and well over the northern horizon for southern stargazers. It’s one of the oldest constellations, and one of the few that vividly resembles its name.
The constellation takes its name from the crown, in Greek legend, given to the maiden Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. Ariadne had been abandoned on the island of Naxos by Theseus, the legendary hero who slew the Minotaur. The god Dionysus rescued the maiden, fell in love with her, and gave her a jeweled crown forged by Hephaestus, god of the forge. Ariadne and Dionysus had a happy life together. But she was mortal and eventually died. Dionysus placed her crown in the heavens to remember her [Read more…] about The Constellation Corona BorealisShare This:
The constellation Leo is stuffed with galaxies that are visible in a backyard telescope. Three of the brightest and best known are M65, M66, and NGC 3628, also known as the “Leo Triplet”. You can see all three galaxies in virtually any telescope and even in a good pair of binoculars. If you can see all three galaxies at once, keep in mind you’re seeing at one time the collected light of more than half a trillion stars [Read more…] about Galaxy Tour: The Leo TripletShare This:
Now we look to the long and winding constellation Draco. This group winds between the Big and Little Dippers. The tip of its tail lies just above the bowl of the Big Dipper, while the small quadrilateral of its head lies near one of the feet of Hercules. The constellation is well overhead from March through the late months of summer in the northern hemisphere.
(This article is an excerpt of the Cosmic Pursuits course Fundamentals of Stargazing, to be released in February 2016) [Read more…] about The Constellation DracoShare This: