How To Locate Serpens The Serpent Constellation

constellations Aug 19, 2023

Spanning both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, this ancient constellation is unique, divided into two distinct parts – the Serpent's head and the Serpent's tail. Linked to the constellation Ophiuchus, Serpens holds rich mythological significance, particularly in Greek lore, where it intertwines with the tales of Asclepius, the god of medicine.

Serpens is classified as an ancient constellation with roots dating back to Babylonian times. Recorded by Ptolemy in the second century, its name is derived from the Greek word for 'serpent.' Notably, it's best observed in the northern hemisphere during the summer, corresponding to winter in the southern hemisphere. To find Serpens, stargazers often rely on nearby constellations like Ophiuchus, using reference points such as Hercules and Scorpius. The challenge lies in its faint stars, ranging from fourth to sixth magnitude, requiring seekers to venture into dark skies for optimal visibility.

The Serpens constellation hosts a myriad of celestial wonders, with a few highlighted for exploration. In the head, NGC 5921 and Messier 5, a globular star cluster, offer mesmerizing views. Hoag's Object, a unique ring galaxy, adds to the cosmic spectacle. Moving to the tail, NGC 6535, a globular star cluster, and the Eagle Nebula with its iconic Pillars of Creation showcase the vast celestial diversity within Serpens.

Serpens is deeply rooted in Greek tales, often associated with Asclepius, the healer. Asclepius, son of Apollo, possessed healing powers that could revive the dead, and learned from snakes. Zeus, fearing the immortality of humans, struck Asclepius with lightning, elevating him to the night sky. The Rod of Asclepius, a symbol of healing, continues to influence modern medicine, evident in logos like the World Health Organization's Star of Life.

Additional Resources to Explore:

▶ Stellarium online planetarium: 

▶ 100,000 Stars: