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Serpens, The Serpents Constellation

Serpens (Pronounciation:Sir-pens, Abbrev:Ser, Latin:Serpentis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Serpens takes up 636.928 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.54% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Serpents . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

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

The brightest star in Serpens is Unukalhai. There are 17 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Serpens. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Serpens Star List Page.

Serpens Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Serpens is 1539. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 65. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 12.

There are 2 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.

Stars of Interest

The nearest star to Earth is HIP 88574 which is roughly about 25.31 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 168443 which is about 122.07 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 90910 which is located about 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.

The dimmest star that can be seen in Serpens with the naked eye is Tau6 Serpentis. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. 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

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.

Legend of the Constellation

The Serpents although two separate constellations are usually referred to as one. The constellation Ophiuchus is sandwiched in between them. They are probably serpents that Ophiuchus cured people with.

Meteor Showers

There are 12 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Kappa Serpentids1 Apr- 7 Apr05-AprKappa Serpentis

Serpens Facts


NameSerpens
AbbreviationSer
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarUnukalhai
Area636.928 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.54%
Size Position23rd
Hemisphere Equatorial
Site Exoplanet Count17
Meteor Shower Count12
Nearest StarHIP 88574
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 168443
Dimmest StarTau6 Serpentis
Furthest StarHIP 90910
Bright Star Count65
Hipparcos Star Count1539
Main Star Count12
Messier Deep Space Object Count2
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCorona Borealis
Bootes
Virgo
Libra
Ophiuchus
Hercules
Ophiuchus
Sagittarius
Scutum
Aquila

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


Serpens Constellation Map


Serpens 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 Serpens


NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Eagle Nebula (M16, NGC6611)Star Forming Nebula7000-13:4718h 18m 8
Messier 5 (NGC 5904)Globular Cluster24500+02:0515h 18m 6

Meteor Showers

Kappa Serpentids Meteor Shower


Max Activity Date05 Apr
Activity Period1 Apr- 7 Apr
Right Ascension240.2
Declination16.8
Solar Longitude20
Alpha Radiant240.2
Speed47
Zenith Hourly Rate4


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