University Lowbrow Astronomers

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 Lizard 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,” in 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 the Great 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


Deep Sky Objects

NGC 7245; open cluster

NGC 7243; Caldwell 16; open cluster

NGC 7209; open cluster


All Images on this page were downloaded from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.


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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).
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