Serpens


Serpens


English nameSnake

Major
stars
alpha SerpentisUnukalhaimagn. 2,7RA: 15h 44m 16.07sDec: +06 25' 32.2"
eta Serpentismagn. 3,4RA: 18h 21m 18.67sDec: -02 53' 54.1"

DescriptionSerpens has a peculiarity that distinguishes it from all the other constellation: even if it is only one constellation, it is divided into two distinct portions, separated by Ophiuchus: in the west there is the snake's head, Serpens Caput, the greatest and most evident part; in the east the there is the tail, Serpens Cauda.

M16M5There are some interesting double stars, all separable with small telescopes: they are, in particular, beta, delta, theta and ny Serpentis. Remarkable is also a stellar cluster, M16 (on the left), near the border with Scutum: it is composed by about fifty stars, surrounded by a weak nebulosity known as Eagle Nebula.
Next to the border with Virgo, besides, there is a very beautiful globular cluster, M5 (on the right), visible with modest instruments (but to distinguish the single stars you need a rahter powerful telescope).


Mythology
and history
The constellation represents the snake that Ophiuchus holds in its hands.


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