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. Serpens is the 23rd largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation 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.
There are 12 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 1539 stars. There are 65 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
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 distance to Serpens is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Serpens is to calculate the average distance of the stars.
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.
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.
The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.
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 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 is located in the constellation is HIP 90910 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.
The brightest star in Serpens is Unukalhai and is located about 143.84 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 2.63 but an absolute magnitude of 0.85 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 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.
SDSS J155720.77+091624.6 is a mouthful to say and is usually just referred to as SDSS 1577+0916 which is still a mouthful but its shorter. What is remarkable about this star is that its a binary star system with a white dwarf and a brown dwarf star orbiting it. There is a strong possibility that there is also a planet in orbit round the stars.
Snakes were useful for cures in the ancient times, the snake's venom could be used as both a cure and a poison depending on how it was used. The snake is supposed to be a snake that was brought back to life by another snake and the reborn snake was then killed by Asclepius, better known as Ophiuchus. Ophiuchus is nearly always drawn as holding or fighting the serpen but never explained why. Ian Ridpath
There are 12 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.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|Kappa Serpentids||1 Apr- 7 Apr||05-Apr||Kappa Serpentis|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Area||636.928 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||1.54%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||17|
|Meteor Shower Count||12|
|Nearest Star||HIP 88574|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 168443|
|Dimmest Star||Tau6 Serpentis|
|Furthest Star||HIP 90910|
|Bright Star Count||65|
|Hipparcos Star Count||1539|
|Main Star Count||12|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||2|
|*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count||0|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Corona Borealis|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|Eagle Nebula (M16, NGC6611)||Star Forming Nebula||7000||-13:47||18h 18m 8|
|Messier 5 (NGC 5904)||Globular Cluster||24500||+02:05||15h 18m 6|