Chamaeleon (Pronounciation:Sham-me-le-on, Abbrev:Cha, Latin:Chamaeleontis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Chamaeleon takes up 131.592 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 0.32% of the night sky. Chamaeleon is the 79th largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation name means The Chameleon . It was not one of the original constellations that had been devised by Ptolemy, instead it was created by Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman years later.
There are 4 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 370 stars. There are 19 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
Chamaeleon is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Chamaeleon is a southern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the northern hemisphere.
There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.
The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.
You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 63.80 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 417.62 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 282.08 light years.
The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.
The nearest star to Earth is HIP 66125 which is roughly about 58.47 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 63454 which is about 112.66 Light Years.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 64554 and it is 29651.21 light years away from the Sun.
The brightest star in Chamaeleon is Alpha Chamaeleontis and is located about 166.73 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 4.05 but an absolute magnitude of 2.59 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is recognised as being the brightest in the constellation as it has the Bayer status of Alpha.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Chamaeleon with the naked eye is DR Chamaeleontis. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.97. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.
Chamaeleon is one of the southern most constellations that we have. The southern most is the constellation of Octans and this one is neighbouring it. You will not even be able to see it in Miami.
Chamaeleon is very near the celestial south pole sitatuted in the neighbouring constellation of Octans. It can only be seen in the southern hemisphere as it is so far south. Whilst it can be seen all year round in Sydney, it goes out of view in September, October when viewed in Darwin.
There is no Greek Legend behind this constellation. It would not have been spotted so far south by the Greeks who created most of the legends. It was created by Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman to fill in the voids in the astronomical charts.
There are 1 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.
The Meteor Shower is known as the Delta Chamaeleontids.
The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Chamaeleon Star List page.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Alpha Chamaeleontis||Alpha Chamaeleontis||63.80||08h 18m 31.27||-76d 55` 11.9||F5III||Yellow/White|
|Beta Chamaeleontis||Beta Chamaeleontis||298.41||12h 18m 20.94||-79d 18` 44.2||B5Vn||Blue/White|
|Gamma Chamaeleontis||Gamma Chamaeleontis||417.62||10h 35m 28.22||-78d 36` 28.1||M0III||Red|
|Delta1 Chamaeleontis||Delta1 Chamaeleontis||348.47||10h 45m 16.38||-80d 28` 10.3||K0III||Orange|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Brightest Star||Alpha Chamaeleontis|
|Area||131.592 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||0.32%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||2|
|Meteor Shower Count||1|
|Nearest Star||HIP 66125|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 63454|
|Brightest Star||Alpha Chamaeleontis|
|Dimmest Star||DR Chamaeleontis|
|Furthest Star||HIP 64554|
|Bright Star Count||19|
|Hipparcos Star Count||370|
|Main Star Count||4|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||0|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Carina|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
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