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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Starwatch: spot Lacerta the lizard excessive within the northern sky Categorical Instances

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We started the month with the faint constellation of Cepheus, and finish the month with the even fainter constellation of Lacerta, the Lizard.

Whereas Cepheus was one of many authentic 48 constellations outlined by Ptolemy within the second century AD, Lacerta is relatively fashionable, having been outlined in 1687 by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius. Each constellations are actually a part of the Worldwide Astronomical Union’s 88 fashionable constellations.

One of the best ways to seek out Lacerta is to determine the recognisable “W” of Cassiopeia, after which search the patch of sky between Cassiopeia and Cygnus, the swan. The chart exhibits the view wanting roughly south-east, and excessive within the sky at about 8pm GMT from London this week.

Many individuals discover that the simplest technique to spot Lacerta is to search for a stretched-out, squashed W form, then determine the faint star that makes the diamond-shaped head of the lizard. This has led to its nickname of “Little Cassiopeia”.

When Hevelius initially outlined the constellation, he named it after a particular sort of lizard, the stellion. Maybe coincidentally, early Chinese language astronomers additionally noticed these stars as a part of a flying serpent. Being situated far within the northern sky, Lacerta is just not seen from many of the southern hemisphere.

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