Star Names:

Lynx


Map of The Constellation of Lynx
Please hover over any star to get more information
Lynx is a very faint constellation in the northern hemisphere. It was first charted by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. He created the constellation from the stars lying in the gap between Ursa Major and Auriga and named it after the lynx because it was so faint that it took someone with the eyesight of a lynx to spot it in the sky. It is uncertain whether or not he was also referring to Lynceus, a figure in Greek mythology who had the best eyesight in the world and was said to have been able to see things underground.

The constellation Lynx occupies an area of 545 square degrees and contains five stars with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +90° and -55° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of March.

The brightest star in Lynx is [5250] alpha Lyncis, a magnitude 3 variable star approximately 220 light-years distant. It is also known by its Arabic names Elvashah or Alvashak and Al Fahd, both of which mean "the wild cat" or "the lynx."

Two other notable stars in the constellation are [5251] 38 Lyncis and [5253] 31 Lyncis. [5251] 38 Lyncis is also known as Maculosa or Maculata ("the spotted one"). It is a magnitude 4 binary star lying 120 light-years away from Earth. [5253] 31 Lyncis is an orange giant approximately 390 light-years distant. It is also known as Alsciaukat ("the thorn") and Mabsuthat ("the outstretched" paw).

Lynx contains a couple of notable deep sky objects. The Intergalactic Tramp (NGC 2419) is one of the most distant globular clusters ever discovered. The cluster is orbiting the Milky Way. It is a magnitude 9 object and can be spotted in a four inch telescope under good conditions. Lying approximately 295,000 light-years away, it is the most distant object in the Milky Way that can be seen in a medium-sized telescope.

NGC 2683 is an unbarred spiral galaxy, seen edge-on. It is approximately 25 million light-years distant. Because of its appearance, it has been given the nickname the "UFO Galaxy." Its shape resembles that of a flying saucer.

Lynx belongs to the Ursa Major family of constellations, along with Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Canes Venatici, Bootes, Coma Berenices, Corona Borealis, Camelopardalis and Leo Minor.

Constellations directly bordering Lynx are Ursa Major, Camelopardalis, Auriga, Gemini, Cancer, Leo and Leo Minor.


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