Twin City Amateur Astronomers
All Constellations


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Serpens is the only constellation that is non-contiguous. It has two parts, Serpens Caput, the Serpent’s Head, and Serpens Cauda, the Serpent’s Tail, that lie on either side of Ophiuchus. Ophiuchus is often associated with Aesculapius the son of Apollo who was entrusted to the Centaur Chiron who raised and tutored the boy in the art of healing and medicine. It is said that after Aesculapius killed a snake, another snake brought an herb the restored the first to life. Aesculapius captured the herb and then had the power to restore life. Serpens represents the snake that is intertwined with Ophiuchus. Serpens Caput lies between Ophiuchus and Bootes, south of Corona Borealis. Since that location is away from the Milky Way, there are a number of galaxies visible there. Also, the globular cluster, M5, is a spectacular sight that rivals the Great Hercules Cluster M13. Serpens Cauda lies in the heart of the Milky Way and is positioned along the Great Rift which stretches from Cygnus to Centaurus. Prominent in Serpens Cauda is M16 which is officially classified as an open cluster but which is usually combined with the nearby emission nebula IC 4703 to form the Eagle Nebula. The dense dust lanes forming the Eagle are rich star-forming regions sometimes called the Pillars of Creation.