Name a Star in the Serpens Cauda Constellation

Modified: July 1, 2023     Author: International Star Registry

International Star registry 45th anniversary logo surrounded by stars.

Serpens Cauda is half of the ancient constellation Serpens. Serpens has been depicted for centuries as a snake held aloft by the Serpent bearer, Ophiuchus. It is one of the original 48 constellations identified by Ptolemy. Ophiuchus and the two parts of Serpens were historically depicted without separate borders. The borders defining the constellations were determined in the 1920. Serpens now unique to the sky in that it is the only constellation split into two distinct halves. Serpens Cauda is the tail of the snake. Serpens Caput is the head of the snake. 

Serpens Cauda is located near Sagittarius, the brightest part of the Milky Way. It contains several notable objects. The most famously photographed object in Serpens Cauda was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It is called the “Pillars of Creation” showing the columns of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula. Serpens Cauda can be seen by all observers located at latitudes between +80° and -80°. Neighboring Constellations to Serpens Cauda are Aquila, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Scutum. 


Symbol: Serpens Cauda 

Right Ascension: 18 

Declination: -10° 

Diameter (°): n/a 

Area (square °): 208 

Opposition: July 

Size Rank: n/a 

Brightness Rank: n/a 

Genitive: n/a


Major or notable stars in Serpens Cauda 

η-Ser (mag 3.2) Eta Serpentis                        

ξ-Ser (mag 3.5) Xi Serpentis                

O-Ser (mag 4.2) Omicron Serpentis                

ν-Ser (mag 4.3) Nu Serpentis                          

θ Serpentis (mag 4.6) Alya – Theta Serpentis AB 

ζ-Ser (mag 4.6) Zeta Serpentis                                    

θ²-Ser (mag 4.9) Theta Serpentis C 


Deep Sky Objects in Serpens Cauda 

IC 4756 (mag 4.6)        

Messier 16 (mag 6.0) Eagle Nebula 

NGC 6605 (mag 6.0)               

NGC 6604 (mag 6.5)   

NGC 6539 (mag 8.9)   

NGC 6535 (mag 9.3)   

IC 1276 


Mythology of the Constellation Serpens Cauda 

Because of its winding asterism, the constellation Serpens is identified with a wall or snake in more star charts and stories. In Greek and Roman mythology, Serpens has several associated stories. Most commonly it is the snake that brought Asclepius (Ophiuchus), the son of Apollo, and the god of medicine healing herbs.  

Serpens is still depicted in medical imagery today. The caduceus is the official insignia of the United States Medical Corps, Navy Pharmacy Division, and the Public Health Service. It was adopted in WWI and is said to pay homage to the magic wand of Asclepius. In Hebrew tradition, the constellation is seen as a snake as well. During the Han Dynasty, Chinese astronomers depicted Serpens as a wall surrounding Tian Shi Yuan, a celestial marketplace. The ancient Arabs recognized it as a sheep pasture. 


Q. What is Serpens Caput? 

A. The constellation of Serpens is unique – being the only one to be divided into two parts. Serpens Caput represents the western half. 

Q. What is Alpha Serpentis? 

A. Unukalhai – α Serpentis (Alpha Serpentis) Alpha Serpentis is the brightest star in the constellation. 

Q. What is the magnitude of the brightest star in Serpens Cauda? 

A. Unukalhai, also known as Alpha Serpentis, is the brightest star in the constellation of Serpens and has an apparent magnitude of 2.623. 

Shopping Cart