Com - Coma Berenices the Hair of Berenice

Intro and Visual description

To the east of Leo is the constellation Coma Berenices (KOH-ma Bear-uhn-EE-chayz), which pictures the braided hair streaming down from the back of Berenice’s head. Between Leo, Virgo, and Bootes.

Special Stars

Most stars are in a single cluster 250 light-years away.

Looking in the direction of Coma Berenices and Virgo we gaze upon a "field of nebula" containing thousands of galaxies. The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are lonely stragglers millions of light years away from these giant clusters. If we were situated within any one of these galaxies, hundreds of neighboring galaxies would be visible in the sky as luminous balls of light brighter than the brightest stars visible here on Earth.

Origin and History

Created by Gerard Mercator in 1551.

Coma Berenices is the only constellation named for a historical person. Berenice was the Queen of Ptolemy III in Egypt during the 3rd century B.C. For the safe return of her husband from war, Berenice cut off her hair as a thanksgiving sacrifice to Venus. Ptolemy was angered to find his wife without her beautiful hair until his astrologer declared that the gods had placed her braids among the stars.