Star Names:

Microscopium


Map of The Constellation of Microscopium
Please hover over any star to get more information
Microscopium is a small, very faint constellation in the southern hemisphere. It was created by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the 18th century. Lacaille named the constellation after the microscope, invented by Zacharius Jensen, a Dutch spectacle maker, in 1590.

The constellation Microscopium occupies an area of 210 square degrees and contains one star with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +45° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of September.

Microscopium has few notable features. The brightest star in the constellation is [5459] gamma Microscopii, a G-type giant lying approximately 220 light-years from the Sun. The star has an apparent visual magnitude of about 4.677 and a visual companion. It is believed that about 3.8 million years ago, gamma Microscopii was only six light-years distant from the Sun. This would have made it brighter than [1382] Sirius, alpha Canis Majoris, currently the brightest star in the sky.

[5462] alpha Microscopii is another G-type giant, but a much fainter one. Its apparent visual magnitude varies between 4.88 and 4.94.

Microscopium belongs to the Lacaille family of constellations, along with Norma, Circinus, Telescopium, Sculptor, Fornax, Caelum, Horologium, Octans, Mensa, Reticulum, Pictor and Antlia.

Constellations directly bordering Microscopium are Capricornus, Sagittarius, Telescopium, Indus, Grus and Piscis Austrinus.


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