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Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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44Serpens, The Serpent

NAME: Serpens (SUR-penz)

SEASON: Late spring

CULMINATION: midnight, 3 June

ABBREVIATION: Ser

GENITIVE: Serpentis (sur-PEN-tis)

NEIGHBORS: Aql, Boo, CrB, Her, Lib, Oph, Sct, Sgr, Vir

BINOCULAR OBJECTS: NGC 5904 (M 5), NGC 6611 (M 16), IC 4756

URBAN OBJECTS: NGC 5904 (M 5), IC 4756

Serpens is a large, relatively dim equatorial constellation that ranks 23rd in size among the 88 constellations. Serpens covers 637 square degrees of the celestial sphere, or about 1.5%. Its brightest stars are third magnitude, and it has only two of those. Serpens is unique among the constellations in not being contiguous. Serpens Caput (the Head of the Serpent) lies to the northwest and Serpens Cauda (the Tail of the Serpent) to the southeast ...

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