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David

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Serpens

Serpens

Serpens. © 2003 Torsten Bronger.


Serpens (abbreviation Ser), the Serpent, wrapped around Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, is a faint constellation of the northern hemisphere. It is unique in being the only constellation split into two parts, neither of which touches the other. Entwined around and separated by Ophiuchus, Serpens Caput (the Serpent's Head) is the western portion and Serpens Cauda (the Tail) the eastern portion. The Greek letter names of the constellation's main stars are distributed between the two portions: Alpha through Epsilon in Serpens Caput, Zeta and onward in Serpens Cauda.

 

Serpens contains the diffuse nebula M16 (NGC 6611) and a sixth magnitude open cluster embedded in the Eagle Nebula (diameter 35' × 28'; R.A. 18h 18.8m, Dec. -13° 47'). Among its other interesting deep sky objects are the globular clusters known as M5 (NGC 5904) (magnitude 5.8; diameter 17.4'; R.A. 15h 18.6m, Dec. +02° 05') and the Serpens Dwarf. See below for details of the constellation's brightest stars.

 


Serpens Dwarf

 

Serpens Dwarf (Palomar 4)

 

Serpens Dwarf (Palomar 4, UGC 9792) is not, as its name might suggest, a dwarf galaxy, but the second most remote globular cluster of our own Milky Way Galaxy. It lies in the remote halo in the direction of Ursa Major (R.A. 11h 29m 16.8s, Dec +28° 58' 25").

 

Stars in Serpens brighter than magnitude 4.0
Star Visual mag. Abs. mag. Spectral type Distance (lt-yr) R.A. (h m s) Dec. (° ' ")
Alpha (Unukalhai) 2.63 0.87 K2IIIbCNFe 73 15 44 16 +06 25 32
Eta (Alava) 3.23 1.84 K0III 62 18 21 18 -02 53 56
Theta (Alya) 3.4     132 18 56 14 +04 12 10
   Theta1 4.62 1.58 A5V      
   Theta2 4.98 1.94 A5Vn      
Mu 3.54 0.14 A0V 156 15 49 37 -03 25 49
Xi 3.54 0.99 F0III 105 17 37 35 -15 23 55
Beta (Chow) 3.65 0.29 A3V 153 15 46 11 +15 25 18
Epsilon 3.71 2.04 A2Vm 70 15 50 49 +04 28 40
Delta (Tsin) 3.80 -0.25 F0IV 210 15 34 48 +10 32 21
Gamma 3.85 3.62 F6V 36 15 56 27 +15 39 42

 

Constellations
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