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Vulpecula

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Vulpecula

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AbbreviationVul
GenitiveVulpeculae
Meaning in Englishthe Fox
Right ascension20 h
Declination25°
Visible to latitudeBetween 90° and -55°
On meridian9 p.m., September 10
Area
 - Total
Ranked 54th
278 sq. deg.
Stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
None
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
Anser[?] (α Vul)
4.44
Meteor showers None
Bordering constellations Cygnus
Lyra
Hercules
Sagitta
Delphinus
Pegasus

Vulpecula, the Fox, is a faint northern constellation located in the middle of the Summer Triangle, an asterism consisting of the stars Deneb, Vega and Altair.

Notable features Anser[?] (α Vul) is a red giant (spectral type M0III) lying 297 light-years away with an apparent magnitude of 4.44. With binoculars, Anser appears as a optical binary star; 8 Vulpeculae, a class K orange giant star of sixth magnitude lying 484 light-year away, is seen about 7 minutes of arc (0.12 degree) away.

In 1967, the first pulsar, PSR 1919+21, was discovered in this little constellation by Antony Hewish[?] and Jocelyn Bell[?], in Cambridge. While they were searching after scintillation of radio signals of quasars, they found a very regular signal consisting of pulses of radiation at a rate of one in every few seconds. Terrestrial origin of the signal was ruled out because the time it took the object to reappear was a sidereal day instead of a solar day. This anomaly was finally identified as the signal of an fast rotating neutron star. The pulses came (and still come) every 1.3373 seconds - too regular to be associated with any other object. This new object was called CP 19191 for "Cambridge Pulsar near RA 19h 19m" and is nowadays called PSR 1919+21 for "PulSaR at RA 19h 19m and DECL +21 degrees".

Notable deep sky objects Three remarkable deep sky objects are found in Vulpecula:

The Dumbbell Nebula[?] (M27), one of the most observed deep sky objects, is huge planetary nebula which can easily be seen in binoculars where appears as a dim green glowing disk a quarter of the diameter of the full moon. A telescope reveals its double-lobed shape, like an hourglass shape. The Dumbbell Nebula, the first planetary nebula ever discovered, was discovered by Charles Messier in 1764.

The Brocchi's Cluster[?], also called the Coathanger[?] due to its shape, is an open cluster easily seen with the naked eye with its distinctive star pattern.

History This constellation was created by Hevelius and was originally known as Vulpecula cum Anser: the Fox and the Goose. The Goose, which was represented in the jaws of the Fox, is no longer officially in the sky but remains in the name of the alpha star: Anser.



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