Sunday 19 July 2020

Astrognome A-Z of Constellations # 76 Serpens

Serpens the Serpent
An ancient constellation representing a serpent wrapped around the serpent bearer, Ophiuchus. In fact Serpens has come off much worse with Ophiuchus because the constellation is split into two halves, Serpent Caput the Head, and Serpens Cauda the tail. However although a large constellation it is faint with no bright stars.
The brightest star alpha or Unukalhai which means the ‘Serpents Neck’ has a magnitude of 2.6 and is a K2 giant with a temperature of 4,600’C lying 74 light years away.
Beta has a magnitude of 3.7 and is 155 light years away. It is an A2 class star with a temperature of 8,700’C.
M5 a globular cluster at magnitude 5.7 just visible to the naked eye.
M16 the famous Eagle Nebula with the Pillars of Creation which appears in many photographs cannot be seen with the naked eye.

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