The lizard extends from the head of Cepheus to the star at the foot of Pegasus, its northern half lying in the Milky Way. The almost inconspicuous Lacerta constellation was created by Johannes Hevelius from outlying stars between Cygnus the swan and Andromeda the princess.
A minor meteor shower from Beta Lacertids can be seen in August and September.
Although it contains no outstanding bright objects on its own, Lacerta sits in one of the loveliest areas of the northern sky. It can be observed from throughout the northern hemisphere and as far south as northern Australia.
Lacerta is seated in the area of the celestial royal family. Its neighboring constellations are Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Cygnus and Pegasus.
Right Ascension: 10:31
Diameter (°): 11
Area (square °): 201
Opposition: Aug 29
Size Rank: 68th
Brightness Rank: 57th
Major or notable stars in Lacerta
α Lacertae (Alpha Lacertae)
β Lacertae (Beta Lacertae)
Deep Sky Objects in Lacerta
NGC 7243 (Caldwell 16)
Mythology of the Constellation Lacerta
At fewer than 400 years old, Lacerta the lizard is a relatively new constellation without many stories. The reason for the lizard shape was simply that no other shape could fit into the available space.
The celebrated set of astronomical cards, Urania’s Mirror, also featured Lacerta as one of the featured constellations. Urania’s Mirror was first published in 1824 and then updated in 1825. The cards were intended to be held overhead to assist in the location of the constellations at night.
Before being named by Hevelius, it was associated with a weasel, greyhound, newt and by the Chinese as the flying serpent. The native American Chumash people saw the constellation as a lizard as well.