This northern circumpolar region of the sky is far from the Milky Way and therefore darker, with fewer stars. Unlike most of the northern constellations, the constellations Camelopardalis and Lynx were not given names by the ancient Greek astronomers or associated mythology. This is because without the aid of a telescope few stars were visible and the area was considered unremarkable.
Hevelius made this constellation out of the unformed stars scattered between Perseus, Auriga, the head of Ursa Major, and the North Star, Polaris. It marks the northern boundary of the temperate zone, being less than one degree south of the Arctic Circle.
Camelopardalis is bordered by the constellations: Auriga, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Lynx, Perseus, Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor.
This constellation with a strange name actually took its name from the giraffe from Ethiopia. Not surprisingly, it resembles both the camel and the Leopard. Its body is spotted like that of a Leopard and it has a seven-foot-long neck.
Its fore and hind legs, from the hoof to the second joint, are nearly of the same length. From the second joint of the legs to the body, the forelegs are very long in comparison with the hind legs. No one could sit on the back of Camelopardalis without instantly sliding off the way one would from a rearing horse.
Since there are 58 small stars in the constellation, the five largest of which are only of the 4th magnitude, and its principal star is in the thigh, it seems natural that it be named after a truly strange animal.
There is a meteor shower each May radiating from the area of Camelopardalis. This is caused by debris from the comet 209P/LINEAR burning up as it passed through the Earth’s atmosphere.
One of the easiest ways is to locate Camelopardalis is to locate Ursa Major in the night sky. Then trace from the tip of the “spoon” directly outwards towards the head of the bear. The next step will be to locate Cassiopeia on the other side of the night sky – just look for a W shaped constellation, and you will find Camelopardalis directly between them. The major three stars of this constellation are shaped like the animal giraffe.
Right Ascension: 04:47
Diameter (°): 23
Area (square °): 757
Opposition: Dec 05
Size Rank: 18th
Brightness Rank: 51st
Largest Stars in Camelopardalis
β Camelopardalis (Beta Camelopardalis)
Σ 1694 Camelopardalis (Sigma 1694 Camelopardalis, Struve 1694)
Deep Sky Objects in Camelopardalis
IC 342 (Caldwell 5)
NGC 2403 (Caldwell 7)
History of the Constellation Camelopardalis
The Camelopardalis first appeared on the globe designed by Petrus Plancius in 1613 which was produced by Pieter van den Keere and appeared a year later in the star atlas by Jakob Bartsch. In 1620 Johannes Hevelius created his influential star atlas which featured this new constellation. For some time thereafter it was referred to as Camelopardali Hevelii or abbreviated as Camelopard. Hevel.