Vulpecula is a constellation
found in the Northern Hemisphere
, positioned just south of the Nothern Cross, Cygnus
. When the Summer Triangle
is high in the sky, you can see the constellation between Vega
and lies north of Sagitta
. A very faint constellation, most of the stars are of magnitude 4 and 5, the brightest star being a red giant more than 200 light years away from Earth
, barely visible to the unaided eye.
The name Vulpecula means "the Little Fox
", although the original name of the constellation was Vulpecula cum Anser
, meaning the Little Fox and the Goose. It is one of Johannes Hevelius
' constellations, listed along with 6 other new constellations in his catalogue Prodromus Astronomiae
, published by his wife 3 years after his death in 1690. He made up the constellation to fill a rather vacant part of the sky, and is quoted to have said, "I wished to place a fox and a goose in the space of the sky well fitted to it; because such an animal is cunning, voracious and fierce."
The famous planetary nebula, the Dumbbell Nebula
(M27), can be found in its central region.