Serpens: The Serpent


Serpens, The Serpent

Serpens as depicted by Johann Bayer in his Uranometria (1624). Source image provided by — Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.

Serpens Constellation Profile
Abbreviation: Ser Genitive: Serpentis Origin: Ancient
Location: Celestial Equator Size/Area: 637 sq. deg. Size Rank: 23
On Meridian: 9pm June 30th
9pm August 5th
Best View (North): Summer Best View (South):
Bordering Constellations: Serpens Cauda: Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Scutum, Aquila   Serpens Caput: Corona Borealis, Bootes, Virgo, Libra, Ophiuchus, Hercules


The Myth Behind the Constellation Serpens

Serpens, “The Serpent” is the snake that taught the legendary healer Asclepius (see Ophiuchus) the medicinal powers of plants.  Asclepius once killed a snake, and observed another snake bringing it back to life by placing a plant on it.  The physician used this principal to become skilled in medicine.  When Asclepius was killed, the serpent was placed in the night sky along with him.

Serpens Constellation Points of Interest

Interesting Objects in the Constellation Serpens
Name Messier NGC Type Visibility
M5 NGC 5904 Globular Cluster Binoculars
Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611 Nebula Binoculars


Bright Stars in Serpens

These are the stars in Serpens with a minimum magnitude of 3.0.

Name Bayer Name Magnitude Color Luminosity Distance
Unukalhai Alpha Serpentis 2.63  Orange 84 suns 73 ly