Lacerta Lacerta


Transit Date of principal star:
29 August

Lacerta, is one of seven constellations introduced by Johannes Hevelius.

Born in Gdansk, Poland, 28 January 1611, Hevelius died the same day in the same place 76 years later.

Hevelius is mostly known for his atlas of the Moon (Selenographia, 1647). His star catalogue of 1564 stars was the most complete up to that time. It was in this catalogue and an accompanying celestial atlas (Prodromus Astronomiae), both published posthumously in 1690, that Hevelius introduced seven new constellations.

Hevelius had built his own observatory, on the roof of his house, as well as a number of quality telescopes. His stellar observations were the most accurate to his time, and for that reason the celestial atlas was a remarkable achievement.

It was John Flamsteed who -- in his own star catalogue published posthumously in 1725 -- popularised Hevelius' new constellations: Canes Venatici, Lacerta, Leo Minor, Lynx, Scutum, Sextans, and Vulpecula.

Due to the fact that the stars in Hevelius's constellations were borrowed from neighbouring constellations, many of the Bayer (Greek labelled) stars are missing. Thus Lacerta, "The Lizard", has only two Bayer stars.

Lacerta lies between Cygnus and Andromeda. It has a few fine binaries and several nice deep sky objects.

Binary stars:

8 Lacertae is a multiple system with quite wide components; these are the three brightest components:

AB: 5.7, 6.3; PA 186, separation 22.4".
AD: 5.7, 9.1; PA 144, 81.4".
AE: 5.7, 7.2; PA 239, 337.8".

Struve 2902 is the most attractive binary in Lacerta: 7.6, 8.2; PA 88, separation 6.4".

The binary is 1.5 degrees SE of 2 Lacerta, along a line between 2 Lac and 6 Lac.

h1823 is a fine multiple system 1.5 northeast of 12 Lac.

AB: 6.8, 12.5; PA 259 degrees, separation 19.2"
AC: 8.5; PA 338 degrees, 82.1".
AE: 8.9; PA 263 degrees, 18.3".

Variable stars:

8A Lac is a BE variable (shell star) with unknown range and a period of about 16 to 18 years.

12 Lac (DD Lac) is a beta Cep type variable: 5.16 to 5.28 every 4h38m3.2s.

Deep Sky Objects:

NGC 7209 is an open cluster of fifty stars ranging in visual magnitude from nine to twelve. The cluster is 2.5 west of 2 Lac.

NGC 7243 is another open cluster of forty or so stars; the brightest star here is a fine binary (Struve 2890: 8.5, 8.5; PA 11, 9.4"). The cluster is 2.5 WSW of alpha Lac.

For a more detailed appreciation of Lacerta, visit the Binocular Section.

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