With the Latin name of “Lizard”, the constellation Lacerta is a very small constellation that was created in 1687 by the astronomer Johannes Hevelius. The brightest stars of the constellation form a “W” shape similar to that of constellation Cassiopeia; therefore, is sometimes referred to as ‘Little Cassiopeia.’ The constellation is located between the constellations of Cygnus, Cassiopeia and Andromeda, which mans that the northern part of Lacerta lies on the Milky Way.
Lacerta does not have bright galaxies, nor globular clusters in its borders, but there are several open clusters. There are no Messier objects in the constellation.
|Visibility In Pacific Northwest||June to December|
|Best Times To View||October|
|Area||201 square degrees|
|Brightest Object||α Lac|
|Neighboring Constellations||Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Cygnus, Pegasus|
History And Facts
Lacerta is the 68th constellation in size.
The name Lacerta does not come from mythology as the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius introduced the constellation in Firmamentum Sobiescianum, his star atlas published in 1690.
The brightest stars in Lacerta are only of fourth magnitude; moreover, none of the stars have proper names.
Visible in small amateur telescopes, NGC 7243 is an open cluster that is located roughly 2500 light-years from Earth. The open cluster has a few dozen “scattered” stars, with the brightest of these stars being of the 8th magnitude.
The faint planetary nebula IC 5217 is also located in the constellation was well as a few double stars.