|Winter: Orion Canis Major Canis Minor Monoceros Lepus Eridanus Taurus Auriga Camelopardalis Lynx Gemini Cancer|
|Spring: Hydra Sextans Crater Corvus Leo Leo Minor Ursa Major Ursa Minor Canes Venatici Coma Berenices Virgo Bootes|
|Summer: Draco Corona Borealis Hercules Ophiuchus Serpens Libra Scorpius Sagittarius Scutum Aquila Sagitta Vulpecula Lyra Cygnus|
|Autumn: Andromeda Perseus Pegasus Cassiopeia Cephus Cetus Lacerta Delphinus Equuleus Capricornus Aquarius Pisces Aries|
|Southern Skies: Centaurus Crux Lupus Corona Australis Piscis Australis Sculptor Tucana Fornax Dorado Columba Puppis Carina|
The constellation Serpens, the snake, represents the mythological serpent who revealed the secret of bringing the dead back to life. The secret was revealed to the great healer, Asclepius, and was responsible for him becoming the god of medicine, and being immortalized by having his image placed among the stars. The entire story can be found in the description of the constellation Ophiuchus.
Eight exoplanets have been discovered so far in Serpens, but all are in orbit around stars to dim to see with the naked eye.
Serpens is the only constellation in the heavens to be split into two separate constellations, Serpens Caput (the head of the serpent), and Serpens Cauda (the tail of the serpent). Both constellations have their own separate boundaries, but both are connected to each other, and the constellation Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer.
The alpha (brightest) star of the constellation is in Serpens Caput. It is named Unukalhai, which loosely translated from the Arabic means the neck of the snake. It is also known as Cor Serpentis, the heart of the snake. It is a magnitude 2.65 star, 70 light years from Earth.
Serpens Caput also contains one of the biggest, brightest globular clusters in the sky, M5. Robert Burham, Jr., in his famous Celestial Handbook described his first view of M5 through a 40 inch telescope "as if the fireflies of a thousand summer nights had been gathered there, frozen forever in time and suspended among the stars."
It reminded him of Isaac Asimov's famous book, Nightfall, about a people living on a planet at the center of a globular cluster, who lived in perpetual daylight, except for once every 2,049 years, when a series of solar eclipses allows them to finally see the soul shattering splendor of a starry sky. Asimov himself, was inspired to write the story by the words of Emerson: "If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the City of God which had been shown!"
Alya, in Serpens Cauda, is the only other named star in the entire constellation. It is a very dim star, right at the tip of the snake's tail. Why it was named is a mystery. It is only the eighth brightest in the constellation. The mystery deepens when its name is translated from the Arabic to mean the tail of a sheep.
M16 (NGC 6611) is actually two deep sky objects in one. When Charles Messier named the object, back in 1764, he described it as , "A cluster of small stars enmeshed in a faint light."
Today's telescopes reveal that "faint light" to be the astonishing Eagle Nebula. Robert Burnham Jr. was so impressed by it, he felt the name didn't do it justice, and renamed it The Star Queen Nebula.
Whatever you call it, it is quite a sight. A dazzling little cluster of jewel-like stars embedded in one of the most spectacular nebulae in the sky.