Constellations of Serpens, Scutum and Ophiuchus
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Serpens and Ophiuchus
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Image and text ©2008 Akira Fujii/David Malin Images.

In the picture above north is at the top and the image covers 57.5 x 71.7 degrees.
Image centre is located at 17:13:22.6, -4:12:28 (H:M:S, D:M:S, J2000) Astrometric data from

Serpens, with Scutum and Ophiuchus
Best seen in the early evening in July

Serpens, the Serpent, is an ancient constellation, unique in being formed from two separate sections, Serpens Caput (the head of the snake) to the west and Serpens Cauda (the tail) to the east. Between them lies the constellation of Ophiuchus, the serpent holder, who is usually identified with the ancient Greek physician Asclepius, around whose shoulders or staff a snake is draped. The medical symbolism of this is discussed more fully under Ophiuchus.

The stars in both parts of Serpens are mostly quite faint and a snake-like shape is hard to pick out in either section. Serpens Cauda is probably easier to locate since it occupies the dusty part of the Milky Way adjoining the brighter star clouds of Scutum and Aquila.

The main named stars in Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda are: (Greek alphabet)
Alya (θ Ser), Leiolepidotus (μ Ser), Unukalhai (α Ser).

Constellations adjoining Serpens Cauda:
Aquila, Hercules, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Scutum,

Constellations adjoining Serpens Caput:
Boötes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Libra, Ophiuchus, Virgo.

Related images (other sources -- see under 'Related Images' on pages the below)
AAT 16.     NGC 6611, star cluster and the Eagle nebula, M16
AAT 47.     NGC 6611, star cluster and the Eagle nebula, M16
AAT 70.     The core of NGC 5904, M5 globular cluster in Serpens

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David Malin, 2015, February 27.