Two more wonderful Asterisms?

Since I brought up asterisms, I thought I would share two of my favorite summer asterisms and what I found out about them.

If you are like me, every spring you enjoy that star hop from Corvus to M104, the Sombrero Galaxy. Who can forget that line of four stars from gamma Corvus (Gienah) that ends with three stars, which look like an arrowhead pointing at the little asterism known as the Stargate, STF 1659. That’s right, I only recently learned that this little asterism is actually a multiple star system that is contained in the Washington Double Star catalog. I will bet that you, like me, thought that this grouping of stars got its name from the TV series by the same name but it didn’t. It was given this name from the Buck Rogers TV series back in 1979.

This multiple star, STF 1659, is made up of two triangles of stars; one nested inside the other. These six stars range in magnitude from 6.6 to 10.8. It is interesting that the Virgo diamond, described below, is about the size of the little triangle nested in the larger triangle in the DSS image below.

This is my sketch of this wonderful asterism or multiple star system.

Continuing on with the line of stars and the Stargate asterism will take you shortly to another asterism that I have found out is also a multiple star system, STF 1664, known as the Jaws. Although this is part of a much larger asterism of a shark, the gaping mouth of the shark is known as the Jaws and looks almost like a small Sagitta pointing straight at the Sombrero Galaxy, M104. These stars range in magnitude from 8.5 to 12.3 and you can see how close to M104 they are in this DSS photo.

I can see both of these multiple star systems from home in my 10×50 binoculars as a fuzzy little knot of stars. If you are not careful you might think the Jaws is M104, but look carefully, M104 is fainter but visible in the binoculars too.

The Stargate, STF 1659, is located at R.A. 12h35m44s, Dec. -12d01m30s and The Jaws, STF 1664 is located at R.A. 12h38m20s, Dec. -11d31m01s

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