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Monoceros, The Unicorn Constellation Facts and Mythology

Monoceros (Pronounciation:Mono-sear-os, Abbrev:Mon, Latin:Monocerotis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Monoceros takes up 481.569 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.17% of the night sky. Monoceros is the 35th largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means The Unicorn . It was not one of the original constellations that had been devised by Ptolemy, instead it was created by Jakob Bartsch years later.

There are 8 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 1444 stars. There are 71 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

Monoceros is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Monoceros is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator.

There are 25 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Monoceros. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Monoceros is V838 Monocerotis. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Monoceros Star List Page.

There are 1 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 2 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.

Monoceros 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 30920, Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is HIP 30920 which is roughly about 13.46 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 52265 which is about 94.46 Light Years.

HIP 28535, Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 28535 and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

Beta Monocerotis, Brightest Star in Monoceros

The brightest star in Monoceros is Beta Monocerotis and is located about 15.72 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 3.76 but an absolute magnitude of -2.82 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is only recognised as being Beta Monocerotis rather than having Alpha status.

HD 43319, Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Monoceros with the naked eye is HD 43319. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.99. 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

Scholtz Star

Scholtz is named after the scientist who studied or led the study into it, Ralf-Dieter Scholz in 2013. The interesting thing about this star is that it was estimated at being less a light year away some 70,000 years ago. Such a distance would have put the small red dwarf inside the Oort Cloud, the theorized cloud of comets that encompass our solar system.

V616 Mon, nearest black hole

The constellation can boast having the location of the nearest black hole so far discovered in our galaxy to us. It is still 2,600 light years away. It is so far as for us to not worry about the effect of it. As we search the skies more, there might well be a closer black hole discovered but until then Monoceros has hold onto the accolade. Granted, V616 Monoceros is not a star but it is dead remnants of a giant star.

Monoceros Mythology

This along with Camelopardalis was created by Jakob Bartsch and there is no Greek mythology behind it. Although not a direct greek legend like the others, the creature it represents, a Unicorn is definitely a mythological creature.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Monoceros

There are 7 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.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Alpha MonocerotidsNov 15 - Nov 25 Nov 21Alpha Monocerotis
MonocerotidsNov 27 - Dec 17 Dec 09Zeta Monocerotis

Monoceros Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Largest StarV838 Monocerotis
Brightest StarBeta Monocerotis
Area481.569 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.17%
Size Position35th
Hemisphere Equatorial
Site Exoplanet Count25
Meteor Shower Count7
Nearest StarHIP 30920
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 52265
Brightest StarBeta Monocerotis
Dimmest StarHD 43319
Furthest StarHIP 28535
Bright Star Count71
Hipparcos Star Count1444
Main Star Count8
Messier Deep Space Object Count1
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count2
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsGemini
Canis Major
Canis Minor

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

Monoceros Constellation Map

Monoceros Constellation Star Map

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

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Monoceros

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Cone Nebula (NGC2264)Dark Nebula2.700+09:2106h 41m 15
Messier 50 (NGC2323)Open Cluster3200-08:2007h 03m 2
Red Rectangle NebulaProtoplanetary Nebula2300 ly-10d 38` 14.69106h 19m 58m 216
Rosetta NebulaNebula520004:59:5406h 33h 45

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