Tag Archives: Mid-declination

Perseus (A Greek mythological hero)

PerseusCCThe constellation Perseus is located near several other constellations to which Perseus is related in Greek mythology: Cepheus, Andromeda, Pegasus, Cassiopeia, and Cetus. This constellation was one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. This easily spotted constellation is well placed high in the northern sky and best seen in January. It is found between Cassiopeia and the Pleiades, and Mirfak (Alpha Persei) is its brightest star Its most interesting star Algol (Beta Persei) is an eclipsing binary star. Its variable brightness, which is noticeable to the naked eye, decreases by over one degree of magnitude for about ten hours on a cycle time of just under three days. This star is also known as the Demon Star, because the ancients perceived its variability as an ominous sign. Also notable in this constellation is theNGC869NGC884 Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884), which are naked eye objects under very dark skies. Perseus is home to two Messier objects, M34 and M76, and to the Perseids meteor shower. This meteor shower, one of the most consistently prominent meteor showers each year, lasts from mid-July to late August, peaking between the 9th and 10th of August.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_(constellation)

606px-Perseus_IAU.svg
IAU Perseus chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Canis Minor (The lesser dog)

Canis MinorCanis Minor is the lesser dog that follows the great hunter, Orion. This constellation was one of the 48 constellations cataloged by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remains among the 88 modern constellations. This small, 71st-largest constellation is best seen in March, and is located east of Orion, south of Gemini, and northeast of Canis Major, the greater dog that follows Orion. Its brightest stars are Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris) and Gomeisa (Beta Canis Minoris). This constellation contains the Canis-Minorids meteor shower, which lasts from 4-15 December, and peaks over the nights of 10 and 11 December. The Milky Way runs through this constellation, but it contains no Messier objects.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canis_Minor

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IAU Canis Minor Chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Lacerta (The lizard)

Andromeda, LacertaLacerta, the lizard, is a northern hemisphere constellation that presents a slight “W” shape, and is hence sometimes referred to as “Little Cassiopeia.” It is nestled among five large and distinct constellations: Cepheus, Cygnus, Pegasus, Andromeda and Cassiopeia, and it can be found highest in the sky at nightfall in March. Most notable for telescope viewers is Roe 47, a multiple star system consisting of five gravitationally-bound components between 6th and 10th magnitude. While the brightest, 6th magnitude component can usually be seen with the unaided eye under very dark skies, a modest telescope is required to see all five components.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacerta

IAU Lacerta chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Lacerta chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Aquila (The eagle)

Scutum, Aquila, CapricornusAquila is a  fairly easily recognized constellation of medium to bright stars that is one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. It is a pretty constellation that easily evokes an image of a soaring eagle. Lying south of Cygnus, and flanked by Pegasus to the east and Ophiuchus to the west, Aquila reaches its highest nightfall ascension in September.

The most notable star in Aquila is Altair (Alpha Aquilae), its brightest star and a member of the Summer Triangle. Aquila lies in the same direction as the Milky Way, so several  gaseous nebula can be found in this constellation. The most famous of these are the Owl Nebula (NGC6781) and the Glowing Eye nebula (NGC6751),
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquila_(constellation)

IAU Aquila chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.
IAU Aquila chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net