Constellation of Sextans and the head of Hydra
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Sextans and the head of Hydra
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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 34.3 x 42.8 degrees.
Image centre is located at 09:27:33.8, +0:28:35 (H:M:S, D:M:S, J2000) Astrometric data from Astrometry.net.

Sextans and the head of Hydra
Best seen in the early evening in April

Sextans, (the Sextant, originally Sextans Uraniae), is small, faint, equatorial constellation south of Leo, framed by the bright stars Regulus to the north and Alphard to the west. It was introduced by Johannes Hevelius in 1687 to commemorate the instrument with which he continued to measure star positions for long after the telescope had been invented. This small and insignificant constellation measures a little more than 17 degrees on a side (about 313 degrees square) and is ranked 45th in area out of the 88 modern constellations.

In contrast is the winding collection of stars that make up the head of Hydra, the Water Snake, discussed elsewhere. This is the largest constellation in the sky, extending over 1300 square degrees, and though the stars that make up the head are rather faint, they are together on the sky and quite distinctive.

Named stars in this field: (Greek alphabet)
Alfard (α Hya), Regulus (α Leo).
Constellations adjoining Sextans: Crater, Hydra, Leo.


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David Malin, 2015, February 27.