Coma Berenices

Coma Berenices

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Coma Berenices: Facts & Myths

There are few activities which are seldom done by people, but of the few, there are certain ones which are never considered as well. Stargazing is one of them, and although people do seem to like it much, they are not convinced because not everyone is familiar with the knowledge of the Night Sky. Today, we are going to look at a particular constellation by the name of Coma Berenices and look at its history as an example to understand why people should give more importance to it in the first place!

Coma Berenices

In astronomy, Coma Berenices is a faint northern constellation that is visible from both the Northern and the Southern hemispheres. Coma Berenices rises over the eastern horizon in the Northern Hemisphere in January and dips below the western horizon in August. At a 10:00 pm observation it reaches its highest point in the sky on May 1, when it is almost directly overhead for most Northern Hemisphere observers. At that time it appears about one third of the way up the sky in the Southern Hemisphere, where its season of visibility is shorter, from March through June. A faint constellation containing many interesting deep-sky objects visible with a telescope, Coma Berenices is often overlooked in favor of its more prominent neighbors, Leo, Virgo, and Boötes. Coma Berenices is best known for its wealth of galaxies and as the home of the Milky Way’s north galactic pole.

Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair) is bordered on the south by Virgo and on the west by Leo, which share in its history and mythology. Although the ancient Greeks recognized this group of stars, they did not consider it a separate constellation but referred to it as the tuft of hair at the end of Leo’s tail or as a distaff or sheaf of wheat held by Virgo. The ancient Arabian astronomers developed a different symbolism, naming this star figure the Pond their story said that the constellation they considered a Gazelle (the Romans’ Leo Minor) leapt into the pond when frightened by Leo. In the 2nd century ad the Greek astronomer Ptolemy of Alexandria described the stars of Coma Berenices simply as a cloudy or nebulous mass. Coma Berenices was first listed as a separate constellation by Tycho Brahe in 1602, after the Dutch cartographer Gerard Mercator designated it a constellation in 1551.

The name Berenice in Greek means “victory bearer,” and the constellation’s name comes from an Egyptian story that has some historical basis. In the time of Ptolemy III, Euergetes—an Egyptian king in the mid-3rd century bc —the king was about to engage in war against the Assyrians. His queen, Berenice, vowed that she would sacrifice her hair on the altar of Aphrodite if he returned home safely. She fulfilled her promise on his safe return, but the next day her hair was missing. A Greek astronomer and mathematician, Conon of Samos, told the king that Berenice’s hair had been transferred to the heavens because Aphrodite was pleased with the sacrifice, and he pointed to the cluster of stars close to the tail of Leo to confirm his explanation of the missing hair.

The brightest stars in Coma Berenices are of the fourth magnitude, and the constellation is difficult to pick out. The quadrangular constellation can be identified from the right angle formed by the junction of its northern and eastern sides. Berenice’s tresses are usually drawn rippling westward from their point of origin in Beta Comae Berenices and terminating in the U-shaped open cluster known as the Coma Star Cluster, or Melotte 111, in the northwestern corner of the constellation. The Coma Star Cluster consists of a sprinkling of about 50 stars just south of Gamma Comae Berenices and spans 5 degrees of sky. The cluster lies about 260 light-years away from Earth and is 400 million years old. Its brightest stars are visible to the unaided eye, and several more can be discerned with binoculars. Many of the stars in the cluster are double stars that range from blue-white to yellow in spectral type. Near the center of the cluster are three triple stars: 17 Comae, S 1639, and 12 Comae. Despite the seemingly high density of stars in the Coma Star Cluster when examined telescopically, there is only about one star for every 10 cubic parsecs (1 parsec = 3.26 light-years) in this area of the constellation, which suggests that a dispersal is taking place.

Just as a coordinate system is applied to Earth to help in precisely locating positions, so a coordinate system is applied to the Milky Way galaxy. This coordinate system includes a galactic equator and north and south galactic poles. The north galactic pole is the point that is 90 degrees north of every point on the galactic equator and lies between Beta Comae Berenices and the Coma Star Cluster, at right ascension 12 h 52 m and declination +27 degrees. An observer standing at the north galactic pole would see the Milky Way head-on. The south galactic pole, which is 90 degrees south of every point on the galactic equator, is in the southern constellation Sculptor.

Observers on Earth looking toward Coma Berenices are looking away from the Milky Way, so their view is relatively unobstructed by galactic gas, dust, and haze. This vantage point allows good viewing of objects well beyond the boundaries of the Milky Way galaxy, in deep space. Of particular interest in Coma Berenices is the large population of galaxies, many associated with the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. The Virgo Cluster consists of as many as 3,000 galaxies visible photographically, of which about 500 are visible with amateur telescopes. The Virgo Cluster is densest in the constellation Virgo, immediately south of Coma Berenices. It extends southward into the constellation Corvus and northward through Coma Berenices into Canes Venatici. Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster average 45 to 65 million light-years’ distance from Earth.

Most of the galaxies in Coma Berenices are faint, like the rest of the constellation’s objects, and are best sought on a dark night. About 30 can be picked out with an 8-inch (20-centimeter) telescope. Two famous named galaxies in Coma Berenices are the Needle galaxy (NGC 4565) and the Black-Eye galaxy (NGC 4826, M64). Both lie within the arc of the right angle formed by Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Comae Berenices. Both are about 20 million light-years from Earth, but whether they are associated with the Virgo Cluster or are independent of it is disputed by astronomers. The Needle galaxy is a spiral galaxy seen almost perfectly edge-on from Earth. In small telescopes it appears as a toothpick-thin streak of radiance with a bright core. A ninth-magnitude object, it can be seen with binoculars under very dark viewing conditions. The Black-Eye galaxy, another ninth-magnitude spiral galaxy, gets its name from the dark lane of dust that lies prominently in front of the nuclear bulge of this galaxy. Near the Black-Eye galaxy lie the ninth-magnitude spiral galaxy M100 and the elliptical galaxy M85. M100 is notable for the supernovas recorded in 1901, 1914, 1959, and 1984.

In addition to hosting a number of galaxies of the Virgo Cluster, Coma Berenices is home to an unrelated grouping, the Coma Berenices Galaxy Cluster. This cluster, visible with telescopes, lies in the northeastern corner of the constellation just west of Beta Comae Berenices. It is a remote and dense cluster comprising more than a thousand galaxies. Only two constituent galaxies can be seen with amateur-sized telescopes, NGC 4889 and NGC 4874. NGC 4889 is a giant elliptical galaxy with a magnitude of 13.4. NGC 4874 is considered a hybrid S0 type—a somewhat flattened disk without spiral arms. The system as a whole is about 20 million light-years in diameter, with a central core that is 7 million light-years in diameter. It is thought to be between 250 and 400 million light-years away from Earth, or about ten times as distant as the Virgo Cluster. Because light from the cluster that is being observed from Earth left the cluster 400 million years ago, the Coma Galaxy Cluster has proved useful to astronomers in formulating theories about the evolution of galaxies.

History and mythology

Coma Berenices is one of the few constellations to owe its name to a historical figure, in this case Queen Berenice II of Egypt, wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes (fl. 246 BC–221 BC), the king under whom Alexandria became an important cultural center.

In 243 BC, during the Third Syrian War, Ptolemy undertook a dangerous expedition against the Seleucids, who had murdered his sister. His newlywed bride, Berenice, swore to the goddess Aphrodite to sacrifice her long, blonde hair, of which she was extremely proud, if her husband returned safely. He did, so she cut her hair and placed it in the goddess's temple. By the next morning the hair had disappeared. To appease the furious king the court astronomer, Conon, announced that the offering had so pleased the goddess that she had placed it in the sky. He indicated a cluster of stars that have since been called Berenice's Hair. This incident inspired the court poet Callimachus of Cyrene to write a poem entitled Βερενίκης πλόκαμος (Greek "Berenice's braid"). About 2/3 of the Greek original is now lost, but the full version was translated to Latin by the Roman poet Catullus, and his version exists to this day.

Coma Berenices consists of a number of stars close together, and has been recognized as a distinct asterism since the Hellenistic period. Eratosthenes referred to it as both "Ariadne's Hair" and "Berenice's Hair". Ptolemy referred to it as "the lock" of hair however, he did not list it as one of his 48 constellations, considering it to be a part of Leo, specifically, the tuft at the end of the lion's tail. ΐ]

Coma Berenices

Berenice’s Hair (lat. Coma Berenices) is a constellation of spring. The main star “Diadem” is a binary star whose stars are equally bright and circle once every 25 years. However, the constellation is relatively inconspicuous, because only two of its stars reach the fourth magnitude.

How to spot Coma Berenices

Coma Berenices stretches over 386 square degrees in the northern hemisphere. The constellation is located north of Virgo, west of Bootes, east of Leo and south of Canes Venatici.


In antiquity, the light of the Coma star cluster was associated with Berenice's hair and thus a part of the constellation Leo. About 250 BC the Pharaoh Ptolemy III. from Egypt married the young Berenice of Cyrene, who was considered a special beauty because of her blond curls. However, after the wedding ceremony, the pharaoh had to go to war, whereupon Berenice vowed to sacrifice her hair, should her beloved husband return unharmed. When the victorious return was announced, she cut off her hair and laid it on the altar of Aphrodite. When the curls could not be found the next day, resentment arose in the pharaoh's house. A astronomer was able to resolve the mood, claiming that the Gods joyfully put the hair of Berenice as part of the lion in the sky. In the 16th century Coma Berenices was first registered as a own constellation due to a misunderstanding.

Planet Facts

Coma Berenices is one of the traditional asterisms (group of stars) known to man since the Hellenistic period. It is located adjacent to the constellation Leo. Coma Berenices is one of the few that have been named after a famous person in history. It was named after Queen Berenice II of Egypt, who was known because of her hair that she sacrificed to the gods so that her husband Ptolemy III Euergetes would return home safely.

It was not included in the 48 constellations of Ptolemy because during that time it was considered as part of Leo. The constellation was bordered by Canis Venatici, Ursa Major, Leo and Virgo.

The Coma Berenices first appeared on the celestial globe made by Caspar Vopel, a well-noted cartographer in 1536. It also appeared on Tycho Brahe’s list of stars in 1602 and it is because of him that the asterism was promoted into a constellation. Coma Berenices does not have a star brighter than the fourth magnitude there are also three known Bayer stars. There are many celestial objects such as galaxies and globular clusters located in the area. There are eight objects recognized in the Messier’s list. Over 200 stars are located in Coma Berenices, but most of them are obscure.

Notable Objects:

Despite being rather dim, Coma Berenices is significant because it contains the location of the North Galactic Pole. It is comprised of only 3 main stars, but contains 44 Bayer/Flamsteed designated members. Of its main stars, Alpha Comae Berenices (aka. Diadem) is the second-brightest in the constellation.

The name is derived from the Greek word diádema, which means “band” or “fillet”, and represents the gem in Queen Berenice’s crown. It is sometimes known by its other traditional name, Al-Zafirah, which is Arabic for “the braid”. It is a binary star composed of two main sequence F5V stars that are at a distance of 63 light years from Earth.

The Black Eye Galaxy (Messier 64). Credit: NASA/The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA, STScI)

It’s brightest star, Beta Comae Berenices, is located 29.78 light years from Earth and is a main sequence dwarf that is similar to our Sun (though larger and brighter). It’s third major star, Gamma Comae Berenices, is a giant star belonging to the spectral class K1II and located about 170 light years from Earth.

Coma Berenices is also home to several Deep Sky Objects, which include spiral galaxy Messier 64. Also known as the Black Eye Galaxy (Sleeping Beauty Galaxy and Evil Eye Galaxy), this galaxy is located approximately 24 million light years from Earth. This galaxy has a bright nucleus and a dark band of dust in front of it, hence the nicknames.

Then there is the Needle Galaxy, which lies directly above the North Galactic Pole and was discovered by Sir William Herschel in 1785. It is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky that can be viewed edge-on. It lies at a distance of about 42.7 million light years from Earth and is believed to be a barred spiral galaxy from its appearance.

Coma Berenices is also home to two prominent galaxy clusters. These includes the Coma Cluster, which is made up of about 1000 large galaxies and 30,000 smaller ones that are located between 230 and 300 million light years from Earth. South of the Coma Cluster is the northern part of the Virgo Cluster, which is located roughly 60 million light years from Earth.

The globular cluster Messier 53 (NGC 5024), located in the Coma Berenices constellation. Credit: NASA (Wikisky)

Other Messier Objects include M53, a globular cluster located approximately 58,000 light years away Messier 100, a grand design spiral galaxy that is one of the brightest members of the Virgo cluster (located 55 million light years away) and Messier 88 and 99 – a spiral galaxy and unbarred spiral galaxy that are 47 million and 50.2 million light years distant, respectively.

Star Constellation Facts: Coma Berenices

Coma Berenices (“Berenice’s Hair”) is a very faint northern sky constellation that represents the hair of
Berenice II of Egypt, the wife of King Ptolemy III who reigned from 246–222 BC. The constellation’s brightest star, Beta Comae, is a yellow-white subgiant found 30 light years from Earth that shines with an apparent visual magnitude of just 4.32.

Coma Berenices is the night sky’s 42nd largest constellation, and is visible to observers located between +90° and -70° of latitude. In the northern hemisphere it is best seen in the spring time, and from the southern hemisphere in late autumn. The constellation can be found lying between Bootes to the east, and Leo to the west, with other constellations bordering Coma Berenices including Canes Venatici, Ursa Major, and Virgo.

Ursa Major Family

Coma Berenices is a member of the Ursa Major family of constellations, together with Boötes, Camelopardalis, Canes Venatici, Corona Borealis, Draco, Leo Minor, Lynx, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Coma Berenices is the only constellation named after an actual historical person, in this case Queen Berenice II of Egypt, who was married to Ptolemy III Euergetes. During the Third Syrian War (246–241 BC), King Ptolemy III embarked on a hazardous mission of revenge against Seleucus II , the ruler of the Seleucid Empire who had murdered Ptolemy III’s sister and her son. Fearing for her husband’s life, Queen Berenice II prayed to the goddess Aphrodite that if she could bring Ptolemy home to her safely, she would cut off her beautiful long, blonde hair.

Following her husband’s safe return, Queen Berenice made good on her promise and placed her locks in a temple dedicated to Aphrodite. After disappearing the next day, the infuriated king was about to have the temple guards executed when the court astronomer appeased the king by telling him that Aphrodite had loved Berenice’s offering so dearly that she placed it in the sky. Motioning to a group of stars in the night sky, the asterism was subsequently known as Berenice’s Hair.

In the 2nd century AD, the Greek astronomer Ptolemy considered Coma Berenices not a constellation, but an asterism representing the lion’s tail in the constellation of Leo. In fact, it wasn’t until 1536 that German cartographer Caspar Vopel officially promoted it to a constellation, while in 1602, one year after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe’s death, it was published posthumously in his star catalogue.

Meteor Shower

The Coma Berenicids meteor shower takes place from December 12th to December 23rd, with a peak around January 18th. Producing just one or two meteors per hour, this low intensity shower remained undiscovered until 1959, but does boast some of the fastest meteors at 40mph (65km/s).

Principal Stars

– Beta Comae Berenices, in spite of being a beta star, is the constellation’s brightest star with a visual magnitude of 4.26. This yellow-white subgiant (F9.5V B) is located 29.78 light-years away, and shares a number of similarities with our sun, but is a bit brighter and slightly larger.

– Diadem (Alpha Comae Berenices), the second brightest star in Coma Berenices, is a blue-white subgiant (F5V) found 63 light years from our solar system. It has a visual magnitude of 4.32, although it is in fact a binary system whose stars are of visual magnitudes 5.05 and 5.08. Diadem represents the gem found in Queen Berenice’s crown, and the word itself comes from the Greek word meaning “band.” Even today, the word refers to sovereign’s headband, or a jewelled crown.

– Gamma Comae Berenices, the constellation’s third brightest star, is an orange giant (K1II) around 170 light-years from the Sun with a magnitude of 4.350.

Other stars of interest in the constellation includes the variable star FK Comae Berenices the double star 24 Comae Berenices the triple stars 12 Comae Berenices, 17 Comae Berenices, KR Comae Berenices and Struve 1639 the neutron star RBS 1223 and the pulsar PSR B1237+25.

Notable Deep Sky Objects

The constellation contains a number of notable deep sky objects, as well as eight Messier objects, namely the spiral galaxies M64, M88, M98, M99, and M100 the barred spiral galaxy M91 the lenticular galaxy M85 and the globular cluster M53.

– The Black Eye Galaxy (M64), also known as Messier 64, is a spiral galaxy around 24 million light-years away of magnitude 9.36. Also known as the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy, this is favorite object amongst beginner astronomers as it can be seen clearly using a small telescope. M64 is also nicknamed the Evil Eye because of its bright center set inside a dark band of dust. Unusual in its nature, it features an outer region of gas that rotates in the opposite direction to the stars and gases in its inner regions.

– Virgo Cluster is a group of galaxies found 60 million light years, of which the northern section is found within the constellation of Coma Berenices. Also known as the Coma–Virgo Cluster, this part contains more than 1300 galaxies, including five Messier galaxies, namely M85, M88, M91, M98, and M100.

– Messier 85 (M85) is a lenticular galaxy found 60 million light-years away, making it one of the furthest of the 110 listed Messier astronomical objects. M85 is about 125,000 light-years wide and has a magnitude of 10.0. It is situated in the northernmost section of the Virgo galaxy cluster, and is interacting with the spiral galaxy 4394, and the elliptical galaxy MCG 3-32-38.

– The Needle Galaxy (NGC 4565) is a popular edge-on spiral galaxies around 42.7 million light-years away that can be seen using a small telescope. It sits directly above the North Galactic Pole, and has a visual magnitude of 10.42.

Other objects of interest in Coma Berenices includes the Coma Star Cluster, which lies 280 light years distant and contains around 40 bright stars and the Coma Cluster of galaxies, which is around 300 million light years away and contains around 1,000 large and 30,000 smaller galaxies. In the constellation can also be found a physical binary quasar called HS 1216+5032.

Coma Berenices - History

The first constellation in VIRGO explains that this coming "Branch" will be a child, and that He should be the "Desire of all nations."

The ancient name of this constellation is Comah, the desired, or the longed for. We have the word used by the Holy Spirit in this very connection, in Haggai 2:7 --"The DESIRE of all nations shall come."The ancient Zodiacs pictured this constellation as a woman with a child in her arms., a young woman whose Persian name denotes a pure virgin, sitting on a throne, nourishing an infant boy.

But this picture is not found in any of the modern maps of the stars. There we find today a woman's wig! It appears that BERENICE, the wife of EUERGETES (PTOLEMY III), king of Egypt in the third century BC, when her husband once went on a dangerous expedition, vowed to consecrate her fine head of hair to Venus if he returned in safety. Her hair, which was hung up in the Temple of Venus, was subsequently stolen, and to comfort BERENICE, CONON, an astronomer of Alexandria (BC 283-222), gave it out that Jupiter had taken it and made it a constellation!

This is a good example of how the meaning of other constellations have been perverted (ignorantly or intentionally). In this case, as in others, the transition from ancient to more modern languages helped to hide the meaning. The Hebrew name was COMA (desired). But the Greeks had a word for hair, Co-me.( κόμη ) this again is transferred to the Latin coma, and thus "Coma Berenice" (The hair of Berenice) comes down to us today as the name of this constellation, and gives us a woman's wig instead of that Blessed One, "the Desire of all Nations."

In this case, however we are able to give absolute proof that this is a perversion.The ancient Egyptian name for this constellation was Shes-nu, the desired son!The Zodiac in the Temple of Denderah, in Egypt, going back at least 2000 years BC, has no trace of any hair, but it has the figure of a woman and child.Thus does the constellation of COMA reveal that the coming "Seed of the woman" was to be a child born, a son given.

But He was to be more: He was to be God and man--two natures in one person! This is the lesson of Virgos next decan. C ENTAURUS (T he Centaur)

Magic and Abilities

Archive (古文書 Ākaibu): Archive is a Magic that allows the user to convert information into Magical data that can be stored, enabling the user to gain access to previously stored information such as Magic and possibly even historical records and people's profiles that the user may or may not be aware of themselves. The concept behind Archive Magic came about just recently, contributing to its rarity.

Attraction Magic (魅力野魔法 Miryoku no Mahō): This magic causes people of both genders to become infatuated with the user. It is also able to influence the target's mental condition somewhat. Ahatake is strangely immune to it's effects, though it does make more willing to do things for Coma. This is common to those particularly in love with someone. The Charm Magic was derived from witnessing this magic, but it is weaker in certain areas.

  • Love Kiss 1 (愛着接吻一 Aichaku Seppun Ichi): A simple and basic technique in which Coma blows the target a kiss that leaves a trail of hearts. Should these hearts connect, the target will immediately become infatuated and be unable to attack the user.
  • Love Burst(愛着劈 Aichaku Heki): Allows the user to create a flurry of hearts that surround her in a full sphere, creating a sort of defence. While being sturdy, it has the additional effect of causing anyone who comes into contact to become infatuated.
  • Love Marionette (愛着絡繰り人形 Aichaku Karakuriningyou): A spell that allows Coma to control any individual who is infatuated with her like a puppet. This technique is weak and flimsy however, easily broken due to the method of control.
  • Love Kiss 2 (愛着接吻二つ Aichaku Seppun Ni): A variation of Love Kiss 1, this technique is a French kiss that produces a similar effect to Love Kiss 1, but also puts the user in a state where they temporarily surrender their magic, allowing it to be used by Coma. Those who are immune to the basic infatuation part of this ability are not immune to the magic theft ability. Their magic returns after a half hour.
  • Love Stamp (愛着印 Aichaku In): Similar in activation to the Love Kiss 1, but it manifests a more solid heart. It can be blown towards the opponent, and is able to be controlled should they try to the dodge it. The moment it makes contact with the forehead of the opponent, they fall into a trance, and are able to be controlled by Coma mentally.
  • Love Lick (愛着嘗め Aichaku Name): A healing spell used by Coma, she licks the location of wound and her saliva will heal it. It can remove poisons as well. Like other spells, it causes infatuation, though it lasts only a short time.

Immortality: As a Celestial Spirit, Coma is immortal and cannot be killed unless forced to stay in the human world somehow.

Watch the video: How to Find Coma Berenices Constellation


  1. Barhloew


  2. Arndell

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  3. JoJodal

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  4. Lindell

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  5. Travers

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  6. Donovan

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  7. Akigor

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