logo (79K)

Man must rise above the Earth, to the top of the atmosphere and beyond, for only then will he fully understand the world in which he lives.
Socrates, 469 - 399 BC

HOME SOLAR SYSTEM





titlebarconstellations (2K)

ANDROMEDA   AQUARIUS   AQUILA   ARIES   AURIGA   BOOTES   CAMELOPARDALIS   CANCER   CANES VENATICI   CANIS MAJOR   CANIS MINOR   CAPRICORNUS   CARINA   CASSIOPEIA   CENTAURUS   CEPHEUS   CETUS   COLUMBA   COMA BERENICES   CORONA AUSTRALIS   CORONA BOREALIS   CORVUS   CRATER   CRUX   CYGNUS   DELPHINUS   DORADO   DRACO   EQUULEUS   ERIDANUS   FORNAX   GEMINI   HERCULES   HYDRA   LACERTA   LEO   LEO MINOR   LEPUS   LIBRA   LUPUS   LYNX   LYRA   MONOCEROS   OPHIUCHUS   ORION   PEGASUS   PERSEUS   PISCES   PISCIS AUSTRALIS   PUPPIS   SAGITTA   SAGITTARIUS   SCORPIUS   SCULPTOR   SCUTUM   SERPENS   SEXTANS   TAURUS   TRIANGULUM   TUCANA   URSA MAJOR   URSA MINOR   VELA   VIRGO   VULPECULA  

VULPECULA

The Little Fox

sagitta-jamieson-1822 (358K)
Vulpecula - Celestial Atlas by Alexander Jamieson - 1822

The constellation Vulpecula was one of the seven introduced by Polish astronomer, Johannes Helvelius, in 1690. Its original name was “Vulpecula cum Ansere,” the little fox with a goose, and depicted a fox with a goose in its mouth. In modern astronomy the goose has vanished, leaving just the fox. However, the name "Fox and Goose" has endured, adorning the signage of more than a few neighbourhood pubs.

vulpecula-sept15-10pm-45north (64K)
Vulpecula - September 15, 10:00 PM - Latitude 45° North, Longitude 95° West





Stars of Vulpecula

Anser (RA: 19h28m42.186s DE:+24°39'52.05")

Alpha Vulpeculae is named Anser, Latin for goose. It is the only named star in the constellation, and the only star to be allotted a Bayer designation. The remainder of the stars are known only by their Flamsteed numbers, assigned as usual from west to east, the direction the stars take across the sky.

Anser is an M0III red giant, about 50 times larger than our Sun. Although it is the brightest star in the constellation it only manages the relatively dim magnitude of 4.44, owed in large part to its considerable distance of 297 light years.

vulpecula (62K)

The Coathanger (RA: 19h26m 12.0s DE:+20°06'00")

Hiding down in a bottom corner of Vulpecula is a small but very distinctive grouping of stars that bears a striking resemblance to an upside-down Coathanger. Known also as Brocchi's cluster, or Collinder 399, it is a pleasing sight through a small telescope or binoculars. The brightest of the ten stars that make up this little asterism is 4 Vulpeculae, located at the top (or bottom) of the inverted hook of the Coathanger. It is a G9 yellow/orange giant with a magnitude of 5.14, about 272 light years away.

vulpecula-Collinder_399_Talshiarr-cr (4K)
Collinder 399 (CR 399) - Brocchi's Cluster - Coathanger - Talshiarr - August, 2009

Planets of Vulpecula

To date four planets have been discovered in the constellation of Vulpecula. They are all gas giants larger than Jupiter, and their parent stars too dim to see with the naked eye. For more information on these and other extrasolar planets, visit NASA's New Worlds Atlas, and The Open Exoplanets Catalogue.



Deep Skies of Vulpecula

M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula (RA: 19h59m 36.0s DE:+22°43'00")

Although Vulpecula is a small, dim constellation, it does have one major attraction - the Dumbbell Nebula - one of the first objects new telescope owners look at. Considered by many to be the finest planetary nebula in the sky, M27 was the first of its type ever discovered, back on July 12, 1764 by the famous French astronomer Charles Messier. The photo below shows the nebula much as Messier might have seen it, through a small scope at high magnification.

m27-dss (108K)
M27 - Dumbbell Nebula - Digitized Sky Survey

And this is what M27 looks like through the lens of the 8.5 meter telescope of the European Southern Observatory high in the Chilean Andes. Like all planetary nebulae, it is a cloud or shell of expanding gas, cast off by a dying star at its centre. The central star that created this colourful cloud is clearly visible in the image below. It is an extremely hot O3 blue dwarf with a surface temperature of about 85,000 degress K, and a magnitude of 13.5. The nebula itself shines at magnitude 7.4, and is 1,200 light years away. It stretches over 2.5 light years across, 4,000 times greater than the distance from the Sun to Pluto. And it is growing ever larger, expanding at the rate of 17 miles per second.

m27-eso-cr (87K)
M27 (NGC 6853) - Dumbbell Nebula - European Southern Observatory - October, 1998

Up in the clarity of space, above Earth's interfering atmosphere, the Hubble Space Telescope peers deep inside M27, exposing the intricate details of the nebula, showing knots of gas ionized and glowing from the intense thermal, electromagnetic energy of the dying star at its core.

m27-hubble (91K)
M27 - Dumbbell Nebula - Hubble Space Telescope - November, 2001

NGC 7052 (RA: 21h18m 36.0s DE:+26°27'00")

Up in the northeast corner of the constellation, the Hubble Space Telescope looked 191 million light years back through space/time to capture the extraordinary image of a 3,700 light year wide accretion disk surrounding a black hole. At the centre of the far away elliptical galaxy NGC 7052 is a black hole with a mass 300 million times greater than our Sun, slowly but surely gobbling up the stars, gas and dust of the galaxy that surrounds it.

ngc7052-hubble-cr (81K)
NGC 7052 - Accretion Disk Around Black Hole - Hubble Space Telescope - April, 2008

IRAS 20351 (RA: 20h37m 18.02s DE:+25°31'38.5")

By the back foot of the fox, the Hubble Space Telescope looked very far back to the incomprehensible distance of 450 million light years through space/time to image the merging of two distant galaxies, named IRAS 20351.

vulpecula-IRAS 20351-hubble-cr (141K)
IRAS 20351 - Merging Galaxies - Hubble Space Telescope - April, 2008







Winter: Orion   Canis Major   Canis Minor   Monoceros   Lepus   Eridanus   Taurus   Auriga   Camelopardalis   Lynx   Gemini   Cancer  
Spring: Hydra   Sextans   Crater   Corvus   Leo   Leo Minor   Ursa Major   Ursa Minor   Canes Venatici   Coma Berenices   Virgo   Bootes  
Summer: Draco   Corona Borealis   Hercules   Ophiuchus   Serpens   Libra   Scorpius   Sagittarius   Scutum   Aquila   Sagitta   Vulpecula   Lyra   Cygnus  
Autumn: Andromeda   Perseus   Pegasus   Cassiopeia   Cepheus   Cetus   Lacerta   Delphinus   Equuleus   Capricornus   Aquarius   Pisces   Aries   Triangulum  
Southern Skies: Centaurus   Crux   Lupus   Corona Australis   Piscis Australis   Sculptor   Tucana   Fornax   Dorado   Columba   Puppis   Carina   Vela  

cometarrowbsagitta (3K) contact (3K) SOLAR SYSTEM copyright (2K) cometarrowflyra (2K)