Coma Berenices: Berenice’s Hair

COE-muh BER-uh-NICE-eez

Coma Berenices, Berenices Hair

Coma Berenices as depicted by Johannes Hevelius in his Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia (1687).

Coma Berenices Constellation Profile
Abbreviation: Com Genitive: Coma Berenices Origin: Ancient
Location: Northern Hemisphere Size/Area: 386 sq. deg. Size Rank: 42
On Meridian: 9pm May 15th Best View (North): Spring Best View (South):
Bordering Constellations: Canes Venatici, Ursa Major, Leo, Virgo, Bootes

 

The Myth Behind the Constellation Coma Berenices

The story of Coma Berenices, “Berenices Hair” involves real historical people. In the third century B.C. Ptolemy III Euergetes of Egypt was heading out to battle the Assyrians.  His wife, Queen Berenices II, promised to sacrifice her long, beautiful hair to Aphrodite if her husband returned safely.  He did.

Berenice cut her hair off and placed it in the temple, as promised. The next day the hair was missing from the temple, enraging the king.  He was about to have the temple guards put to death when the court astronomer pointed out a group of stars, saying that Aphrodite was so happy with the gift that she put Berenice’s tresses in the sky.

Coma Berenices Constellation Points of Interest

Interesting Objects in the Constellation Coma Berenices
Name Messier NGC Type Visibility
M53 NGC 5024 Globular Cluster Binoculars
Black-Eye Galaxy M64 NGC 4826 Spiral Galaxy Small Scope
M85 NGC 4382 Lenticular Galaxy Small Scope
M88 NGC 4501 Spiral Galaxy Small Scope
M91 NGC 4548 Barred Spiral Galaxy Small Scope
M98 NGC 4192 Spiral Galaxy Small Scope
M99 NGC 4254 Spiral Galaxy Small Scope

 

Bright Stars in Coma Berenices

Thee are no stars in Coma Berenices with a magnitude of 3.0 or brighter.