Star Names:

Musca


Map of The Constellation of Musca
Please hover over any star to get more information
Musca is a very small constellation in the southern hemisphere. It was mapped by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius from the observations of the Dutch explorers Frederick de Houtman and Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser in the 16th century. Plancius created the constellation from the stars in the region around the south pole. He originally named it Muia, Greek for "the fly."

In the early maps, the constellation was depicted as an insect being caught by a lizard, represented by the neighbouring constellation Chamaeleon. For a time, it was also known as Apis, the bee. In mid-18th century, the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille renamed the constellation to Musca Australis ("the southern fly"), and eventually it became known as simply Musca, or the Fly. There are no myths associated with the constellation.

The constellation Musca occupies an area of 138 square degrees and contains one star with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +10° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of May.

Musca does not contain any stars brighter than third magnitude. [5651] alpha Muscae is a hot blue subgiant 306 light-years distant. It is also classified as a Beta Cephei variable, having subtle variations in brightness due to pulsations of its surface. [5662] beta Muscae is a blue binary star with two components about the same size, located only a few light-years from [5651] alpha Muscae.

[5653] delta Muscae (HD 112985) is a binary star with an orange giant for a primary component. It is approximately 91 light-years distant and the closest star to Earth in the constellation Musca. [5654] lambda Muscae is the fourth brightest star in the constellation. It is a white giant that marks the fly's tail. [5655] gamma Muscae is a blue-white dwarf.

Musca has several notable deep sky objects. Nova Muscae 1991 is a soft X-ray transient object that consists of a star and a black hole.

NGC 5189, or the Spiral Planetary Nebula, is a nebula notable for its symmetrical S shape. It is 3,000 light-years distant.

The Engraved Hourglass Nebula, notable for its hourglass shape, is a young planetary nebula 8,000 light-years distant, that appears as two intersecting red rings with a blue eye in the middle.

NGC 4833 is a relatively old globular cluster in Musca, approximately 21,200 light-years distant, lying near [5653] delta Muscae. It is easily found with binoculars.

Musca belongs to the Johann Bayer family of constellations, along with Hydrus, Dorado, Volans, Apus, Pavo, Grus, Phoenix, Tucana, Indus and Chamaeleon.

Constellations directly bordering Musca are Apus, Carina, Centaurus, Chamaeleon, Circinus and Crux.



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