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Chamaeleon, The Chameleon Constellation Facts and Mythology

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.

The distance to Chamaeleon is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Chamaeleon is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

There are 2 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Chamaeleon. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Chamaeleon Star List Page.

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.

Chamaeleon Star Facts

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.

HIP 66125, Nearest Star

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.

HIP 64554, Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 64554 and it is 29651.21 light years away from the Sun.

Alpha Chamaeleontis, Brightest Star in Chamaeleon

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.

DR Chamaeleontis, Dimmest Visible Star

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

Chameeleon Mythology

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.

Chamaeleon Facts


NameChamaeleon
AbbreviationCha
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarAlpha Chamaeleontis
Area131.592 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky0.32%
Size Position79th
Hemisphere Southern
Site Exoplanet Count2
Meteor Shower Count0
Nearest StarHIP 66125
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 63454
Brightest StarAlpha Chamaeleontis
Dimmest StarDR Chamaeleontis
Furthest StarHIP 64554
Bright Star Count19
Hipparcos Star Count370
Main Star Count4
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCarina
Volans
Mensa
Octans
Apus
Musca

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.


Chamaeleon Constellation Map


Chamaeleon Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.



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