Constellation of the Month: Lacerta: The Lizard.
by Mark Deprest
Printed in Reflections: June, 2001.
Lacerta, the Lizard
was created by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, from the stars
between Cygnus and Andromeda. According to the first renderings the
looked a lot like a weasel with a long curly tail, but later drawings were
modified to portray a lizard. This area of sky seems to attract attention,
before the Lizard of Hevelius was placed here, Augustin Royer invented
a different constellation called, “The Scepter and Hand of Justice,”
honor of King Louis XIV of France. Then about a century after Royer, the
German astronomer Johann Ellert Bode, altered Royer’s asterism a bit and
called it, “Gloria Frederica” in honor of his king Frederick
of Prussia. Bode’s and Royer’s creations did not stand the test of time
and Hevelius’ Lacerta became accepted after its inclusion in John Flamsteed’s,
Catalog of Stars published posthumously in 1726.
Transit at Midnight of Alpha Lacerta: September 19th.
Lacerta sits between Cygnus and Andromeda
and is bordered to the north by Cepheus and to the south by Pegasus. It
runs through one of the richest areas on the Milky Way and only the Alpha
star shines brighter than 4th magnitude at 3.78. Lacerta contains only
one other Bayer star, that being Beta Lacertae with a magnitude of 4.43.
With the balance of Lacerta being formed by 4.5 to 5th magnitude stars, from
a dark site the zigzag pattern is all but lost in the background stars
in the area.
Things to Check Out in Lacerta
Multiple Star Systems
8 Lacertae; STF2922; ADS 16095
- RA (J2000): 22h 35m 52.28s Dec.: +39d 38’ 03.6”
- Included in the Astronomical League’s certificate list of 100 double stars.
- Components display common proper motion.
- Component A: magnitude +5.7 spectral type B1V
- Component B: magnitude +6.5 spectral type B2V
- Component C: magnitude +7.2 spectral type F0V
- Separation AB: 22.4 ” at position angle 186
- Separation AC: 81.8 ” at position angle 144
- RA 22h23.6m (J2000) Declination +45 21’
- Washington Double Star (WDS) catalog.
- Component A: magnitude +7.6
- Component B: magnitude +8.5
- Angular separation: 6.4” Position angle: 89
Deep Sky Objects
NGC 7245; open cluster
- RA: 22h15m18.0s Dec.: +54d 19’ 59”
- Magnitude 9.2
- cluster, compressed, 50 stars extremely small in angular size.
- Angular diameter: 5.0’
- Distance: 1900 parsecs
- Age 400,000,000 years
NGC 7243; Caldwell 16; open cluster
- RA: 22h15m18.0s Dec.: +49 52’ 59”
- Magnitude 6.4
- cluster, large, poor, little compressed, 40 stars, very large in angular size.
- Angular diameter: 21’
- Distance: 880 parsecs
- Brightest star is magnitude 8.0
- Age 100,000,000 years
NGC 7209; open cluster
- RA: 22h05m12.0s Dec.: +46 29’ 59”
- Magnitude 7.7
- cluster, large, considerably rich in stars, pretty compressed
- 50 stars 9th to 12th mag.
- Angular diameter: 24’
- Distance: 900 parsecs,
- Brightest star is magnitude 9.0
- Age 300,000,000 years
All Images on this page were downloaded from the Sloan
Digital Sky Survey.
Copyright © 2015, the University Lowbrow Astronomers. (The University Lowbrow Astronomers are an amateur astronomy club based in Ann Arbor, Michigan).
This page originally appeared in Reflections of the University Lowbrow Astronomers (the club newsletter).
This page revised Monday, January 25, 2016 1:48 PM.
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