Transit Date of principal star:
31 March

Musca, "The Fly", is a southern hemisphere constellation introduced by Johann Bayer. He called it Apis, "The Bee"; perhaps because of its similarity with "Apus", this name didn't stick.

The full name is actually Musca Australis vel Indica (The Southern or Indian Fly), which distinguished it from the now obsolete Musca Borealis, the Northern Fly.

About a third of the Coal Sack Nebula spills over into Musca; most of it is found in neighbouring Crux. There are only a dozen or so (mainly third and fourth magnitude) Bayer stars.

Double stars:

Beta Muscae is a rapid visual binary; the companion circles the primary every 383.12 years: 3.5, 4.0; PA 50 degrees, separation 1.0".

Theta Muscae is a fixed binary: 5.7, 7.6; PA 187 degrees, 5.4".

Variable stars:

Most variables here offer very small changes in magnitude, using alpha Muscae as an example. R Muscae is not a long-period Mira, as is usually the case with "R" stars, but rather a cepheid.

Alpha Muscae is a beta Cas type variable: 2.68 to 2.73.

R Muscae is a cepheid varying from 6.4 to 7.3 every 7h30m36s.

Deep Sky Objects:

NGC 4372 is a rather faint globular cluster one degree SW of gamma Muscae.

NGC 4833 is a fairly bright (8th mag) globular cluster one degree north of delta Muscae.

For a more detailed appreciation of Musca, visit the Binocular Section.

Return to the previous page:

Or go to

the Main Menu

All files associated with The Constellations Web Page are
© Richard Dibon-Smith.