Infobox Constellation
name = Serpens
abbreviation = Ser
genitive = Serpentis
symbology = the Snake
RA = "Serpens Caput": 16 h "Serpens Cauda": 18
dec= "Serpens Caput": +10° "Serpens Cauda": −5
areatotal = 637
arearank = 23rd
numbermainstars = 9
numberbfstars = 57
numberstarsplanets = 5
numberbrightstars = 1
numbernearbystars = 3
brighteststarname = α Ser (Unukalhai)
starmagnitude = 2.63
neareststarname = γ Ser
stardistance = 36.3
numbermessierobjects = 2
meteorshowers =
bordering = "Serpens Caput:"
Corona Borealis
"Serpens Cauda:"
latmax = 80
latmin = 80
month = July

Serpens (pronEng|ˈsɝpənz, Latin for "snake") is one of the 88 modern constellations, and was also one of the 48 listed by Ptolemy. Among the modern constellations it is unique in being split into two pieces, Serpens Caput (representing the head of the snake) to the west and Serpens Cauda (representing the tail) to the east. Between these two pieces lies the constellation of Ophiuchus, the serpent holder.

Notable features

Since Serpens is regarded as one constellation despite being split into two halves, the ordering of Bayer designations goes in order of brightness among both halves.

Only one of the stars in Serpens is brighter than third magnitude, so the constellation is not easy to perceive. α Serpentis, named Unukalhai, is in the head part. δ Serpentis, also in the head, is a double star 210 light-years from Earth. θ Serpentis. also named Alya ("the snake" in Arabic), in the tail, is also double.

Stars in the head include α, β, γ, δ, ε, ι, κ, λ, μ, π, ρ, σ, τ, χ and ω Serpentis. Stars in the tail include ζ, η, θ, ν, ξ, and ο Serpentis.

Notable deep-sky objects

Messier 5, a globular cluster located approximately 8° southwest of α Serpentis in the head.

Messier 16 is a young open cluster associated with the Eagle Nebula, a diffuse nebula which is a region of current star formation in the tail.

MWC 922, a nebula in the Mount Wilson Catalog, is a Symmetric Bipolar Nebula notable for its appearance as a perfectly symmetrical square or rectangle. It is also known as IRAS 18184-1302, and located at RA: 18:21:16 DEC: -13:01:27, near M16 in Serpens Cauda. The MWC is from Mount Wilson Observatory.

Part of the Milky Way passes through the tail, as illustrated by the shaded regions of the star map.

The Serpens South star cluster was uncovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in the southern portion of the Serpens cloud. The discovery was possible due to the infrared observation capabilities of the SST because at visible wavelengths the stars are completely obscured by interstellar dust in the Serpens cloud.


Serpens is the snake being grasped by Ophiuchus, the Snake-Handler, and is thus very closely associated with it. Both were listed as constellations by Ptolemy. Originally, Serpens and Ophiuchus were considered a single Snake-Holder constellation, out of which developed an associated myth of the founding of medicine.

Appearances in Pop Culture

Serpens is the title of the 3rd track on the 3rd studio album from "Euphoria, We'll Call It," an experimental music group. The album is constellation-themed, and currently unnamed.


* Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). "Stars and Planets Guide", Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.

External links

* [ The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Serpens]
* [ Star Tales – Serpens]
* [ Stellar Siblings in Serpens South]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Serpens — Nombre Latino Serpens Abreviatura Ser …   Wikipedia Español

  • SERPENS — callidissimum animal, inter bestias agri, Gen. c. 3. v. 1. hominique ante lapsum gratissimum, ob peculiarem hunc prudentiae characterem, quae non ratione, sed celerrimo spirituum ac membrorum, ad haec illaque obiecta, motu constabat; mox Satanae… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Serpens — [sʉr′penz] n. an equatorial constellation split into two separate regions, Serpens Caput [kā′pət, kap′ət] (head) and Serpens Cauda [kô′də] (tail), on opposite sides of Ophiuchus …   English World dictionary

  • Serpens — Ser pens, n. [L. See {Serpent}.] (Astron.) A constellation represented as a serpent held by Serpentarius. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Serpens — (lat.), 1) kriechend; 2) (Bot.), nach einer wellenförmigen Linie auf der Erde auslaufend; 3) (Med.), weiterziehend von einem Theile auf den andern, von Hautleiden etc.; 4) als Hauptwort jedes kriechende Geschöpf; bes. Schlange, s.d …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Serpens — (lat., »Schlange«), Sternbild, s. Schlange …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Serpens — Serpens, Mehrzahl serpentes, lat., Schlange …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Serpens — SERPENS, èntis, Gr. Δράκων, οντος, am Himmel, soll der Drache seyn, der von der Juno bestellet worden, die goldenen Aepfel der Hesperiden zu bewahren, hernach aber, als Herkules ihn umgebracht, von ihr an den Himmel versetzet worden. Eratosth.… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • Serpens — (la serpiente) es una de las 88 constelaciones modernas y era una de las 48 listadas por Ptolomeo …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Serpens — Daten des Sternbildes Schlange Deutscher Name Schlange Lateinischer Name Serpens Lateinischer Genitiv Serpentis Lateinische Abkürzung Ser Rektaszension 15h 10m bis 18h 59m Deklination …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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