Chamaeleon is one of a dozen constellations introduced by Johann
Bayer in 1603 for his star atlas Uranometria. Like most of these,
Chamaeleon is far to the south. In fact, its stars are circumpolar to
residents of the Southern Hemisphere.
The asterism is supposed to represent a
chamaeleon. Apparently the animal has changed itself into a rhomboid.
There are only a handful of Bayer stars, and
these are generally forth and fifth magnitude.
There are a couple of binaries, a Mira-type variable, and one deep sky
object of some interest.
Delta1 Chamaeleontis is a close binary of nearly
equal stars: 5.4, 6.5; PA 76º, separation 0.6".
Epsilon Chamaeleontis is also a close binary: 5.5, 6.0; PA 188º,
R Chamaeleontis is a Mira-type variable with period of 334 days,
and a range of 7.5-14.
Deep Sky Objects:
NGC 3195 is a fairly bright planetary nebula located just midway
between delta and zeta Cha.
For a closer appreciation of Chamaeleon, visit the Binocular Section.