There are no significant bright stars in Lacerta. Its brightest, Alpha Lacertae, is only of magnitude +3.8, and the constellation contains no other star above fourth magnitude.

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Constellation Chart


The Lizard


There are no significant bright stars in Lacerta. Its brightest, Alpha Lacertae, is only of magnitude +3.8, and the constellation contains no other star above fourth magnitude. Some of these stars, such as Alpha and Beta Lacertae, are within two hundred light years of the Solar System, but are relatively lacking in luminosity. Others, such as the supergiant 4 Lacertae, are highly luminous stars, but they are thousands of light years from Earth, and so appear even fainter than the nearer stars of the constellation.


The sparse region between Andromeda and Cygnus was given various names during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This constellation might have become Sceptrum, the Sceptre, or even Frederick's Glory in honour of Frederick of Prussia. Ultimately, though, the name given to it by Hevelius in 1687 was to survive: Lacerta, the Lizard.

Constellation Objects

Though Lacerta is relatively lacking in interesting objects, it does lie on the Milky Way, and as we would expect it is not entirely devoid of features. In particular, there are two open star clusters in its northern parts, designated NGC 7209 and NGC 7243, which are slightly too faint to be seen without a telescope. These clusters both lie about three thousand light years from Earth.

Far, far beyond these clusters is a unusual object lying in the outer regions of the universe, the first of its kind to be discovered. This is BL Lacertae, a huge elliptical galaxy with a volatile core. The core's variability can change vary rapidly over short periods of time, and for this reason BL Lacertae was at first mistaken for a variable star.

Lacerta outlines a region that falls between two spiral arms of our Galaxy: hence its stars are generally distant and faint as seen. At around the zenith in autumn night sky, a tiny constellation of Lacerta, the Lizard, is bathing half the body in the Milky Way. It is squeezed between Cygnus and Andromeda. You can see alpha Cygni, Deneb, and the North American Nebula at the upper right hand side in the picture. The constellation is formed by connecting fine stars about fourth or fifth magnitudes in zigzag, established by Hevelius in 1690. He made this little reptile to fill up the void in the sky; naturally enough, the constellation has neither myths nor legends. But it contains some beautiful open star clusters and diffused nebulae because of facing to the fine Milky Way.

Galaxies In Lacerta



These are two open clusters bathed in the Milky Way near the boundary on Cygnus. Uncountable fine Milky Way stars surround the clusters. NGC7209 is positioned about 6 degrees east of M39, an open cluster in Cygnus. The cluster contains about 50 members and 25 arc minutes in diameter. You can clearly enjoy the strained S-shaped star chain through small scopes.



Another open cluster of NGC7243 is lying 4 degrees NNE of NGC7209. This pair looks very same except that NGC7243 has a little bit smaller size than NGC7209. The cluster shows us like a triangle only with binoculars.



Galaxy NGC 7197 in the constellation of Lacerta.

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