Lynx is a faint and obscure constellation found between Gemini and Ursa Major.

The constellation is nearly circumpolar. In summer while it's right-side up, it's very close to the horizon, dipping below the horizon in the northern US and southern Canada for most of the night. For that reason we'll visit it in the winter, when it is high in the sky. However it'll be upside down if you view it facing north.

So the best way to study Lynx in the winter is to face south and then lay flat on your back (a lounge chair comes in handy) and stare straight above you. Lynx will be right-side up nearly at the zenith point.

First, with the naked eye locate Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins. Now find the Big Dipper (Plough in the UK) of Ursa Major -- as you still face south. Lynx lies at a NW-SE slant between these two.

The brightest star and only Greek-labelled star is alpha Lyncis with a visual magnitude of 3.1. The rest of the stars are fifth- and sixth-magnitude. So you should choose a particularly dark night to explore Lynx.

Lynx has many splendid binaries, which are best explored with a telescope. Even a small telescope will show some very fine binary systems. If you've no telescope, even with binoculars you can learn to find your way about, to get acquainted with this practically unheralded northern constellation.

First click on alpha Lyn to find out how to find this red giant, then 12 Lyn.

Prerequisite: Cancer


Visit other winter constellations:

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