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Meaning in Englishthe Fox
Right ascension20 h
Visible to latitudeBetween 90° and -55°
Best visibleSeptember
 - Total
Ranked 54th
278 sq. deg.
Stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
Anser (α Vul)
Meteor showersNone
Bordering constellations Cygnus

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.

Table of contents
1 Notable features
2 Notable deep sky objects
3 History
4 External Links

Notable features

There are no stars brighter than 4th magnitude in this constellation. The least faint one is Anser (α Vul), a red giant (spectral type M0 III) at a distance of 297 light-years with an apparent magnitude of 4.44. Anser is an optical binary (separation of 413.7") that can be split using binoculars. The second star is 8 Vul.

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 for 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 a 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

Two remarkable deep sky objects can be found in Vulpecula:


In the late 17th century this constellation was created by the Polish astronomer
Johannes Hevelius. It was originally known as Vulpecula cum ansere: the Fox and the Goose. The Goose, which was represented in the jaws of the Fox, is no longer officially in the sky but reputedly remains in the name of the alpha star: Anser. The name Vulpecula actually means little fox, the translation "Fox" is more widely used, however.

External Links

[1] For more information on M-27 see the corresponding page of the web-site of the "Students for the Exploration and Development of Space" (SEDS).