α Lyncis

Alpha Lyncis is a red giant 222 light years away, with a visual magnitude of 3.14.

Finding alpha Lyncis can be a challenge, particularly if you don't enjoy the most perfectly black skies. The surest way to locate alpha Lyncis is to start in Cancer. If you've studied this constellation, you should be able to locate iota1 Cancri.
     From iota Cnc move up to the two northern-most sigma stars, sigma2 and sigma3, just to the northeast. Now place sigma2 and sigma3 at the right edge of your glasses and move one half binocular field northeast. You should see alpha Lyncis on the southeast edge: binoculars.

The vicinity of alpha Lyn has some fine binaries which, if you can't resolve, you can at least find in binoculars. One of these is in the same field of view as alpha, Struve 1333, two white stars: 6.6, 6.7; 50º, 1.0".

Near the centre of the same field of view is 38 Lyncis (Struve 1334), a bright greenish primary and blue companion: 3.9, 6.1; 224º, 2.5".

And another telescopic binary is on the northern edge, Struve 1338, white and yellow: 6.7, 7.1; 303º, 1.2".
      This will be a challenge as the companion is rapidly orbiting with a period of 220 years. The orbit is circular.


Move west one binocular field and put 32 and 32 Lyncis on the western edge of your glasses: binoculars. You'll find two (unnamed) stars on the eastern edge, which lead to Struve 1282, two yellow stars; AB: 7.6, 7.8; 279º, 3.5".

One of the finest binaries in Lynx is just northeast of alpha; from alpha move one binocular field northeast and you'll have centred 42 and 43 Lyncis. These two stars form a four-star asterism, a sort of hat. The fainter member of this quartet is Struve 1369, a wonderful multiple system:
      AB (yellow-orange and burnished yellow or reddish): 7.0, 8.0; 149º, 25.0".
      AC (gray-orange): 7.0, 8.4; 323º, 116.5".

Northwest one and a half fields brings you to one of the closest binaries known Kui 37: 4.2, 6.5, 231º, 0.5".
      Also known as 10 UMa, as it once was part of that constellation, this star's companion orbits every 21.85 years. The orbit is perfectly egg-shaped.


To continue examining the binaries of Lynx we'll have to head for the top of the constellation.

You could follow the asterism north, from Kui 37 to 31 Lyncis, about one binocular field northwest, then 21 Lyncis, two fields north-northwest, and then a bit more than two fields north-northwest for the bright little group of stars at its northern end.

Or, if you are sufficiently acquainted with Camelopardalis, you could locate beta Cam—the brightest star in this constellation—and move three fields east and just a little to the south.

Either way, this should be your binocular view.

Click on 12 Lyncis on the map to continue.

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