β Serpentis

Beta Serpentis is found at the head of the serpent, and serves to first locate the beast.

Centre alpha Coronae Borealis then drop three binocular fields due south. You will come across a triangle of bright stars–the serpent's head: binoculars.

Beta is a multiple star system (Struve 1970) with two wide components, however the primary's brightness may make detection difficult:
      AB: 3.7, 9.9; 263º, 31.3".
      AC: 3.7, 11.0; 212º, 199.5".

If you place kappa on the eastern edge of your field of view then move one field west, you'll find two fairly bright stars in a bleak region of the skies. The star to the north is the binary Struve 1919, with a yellow primary and blue companion: 6.7, 7.4; 10º, 23.3".

Back to beta now; R Serpentis, between beta and gamma, is a deep red giant Mira-type variable which stays mostly well under naked-eye visibility (14.4) but may reach 5.1 on occasion. Its period is 356 days and the last maximum was attained 21 August 2013; as it loses ten days every year all future maxima are easy enough to calculate.


A little less than a whole binocular field due south puts chi Serpentis on the western edge. Less than a degree to the south-southwest of chi is the binary Otto Struve 300 with a yellow primary and blue component: 6.3, 10.1; 260º, 15.3".

One more binocular field southwest brings you to alpha.

Click on alpha on the map to continue.

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