Pronunciation:

 (LINKS)

Abbreviation:

 Lyn

  Genitive:

 Lyncis

Right Ascension:

 8 hours

  Declination:

 45 degrees

Area in Square Degrees:

 545

Crosses Meridian:

 9 PM, March 5

Visible Between Latitudes:

 90 and -35 degrees

The constellation Lynx, the lynx, is visible to the northern hemisphere in February. It is visible at latitudes between 90 degrees and -55 degrees. It is a medium-sized constellation that covers an area of 545 square degrees. It ranks 28th in size among the 88 constellations in the night sky. It is bordered by Camelopardalis to the north, Auriga to the west, Gemini to the southwest, Cancer to the south, Leo to the east and Ursa Major to the northeast.

Lynx was created by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. He created the constellation to fill a large gap between the constellations Auriga and Ursa Major. It was named Lynx because the stars were so dim one would have to have the eyes of a lynx to see it. Lynx appears as a dim, bumpy line running just north of Leo and Cancer. It is not known if Hevelius intended to associate any mythology with the constellation but there is one story that could be linked to the name. A sailor named Lynceus, who sailed with Jason and the Argonauts, was said to have extremely keen eyesight. It was even said he could see things underground. He was part of the expedition to recover the legendary Golden Fleece.

The constellation Lynx showing common points of interest
The constellation Lynx showing common
points of interest. © Sea and Sky
Lynx constellation map
Lynx constellation map.
© Torsten Bronger CC BY-SA 3.0
Object
Designation
Name / Meaning
Object Type
V Mag
1 2 3 4
Alpha Lyncis
38 Lyncis
Alsciaukat
2 Lyncis
N/A
N/A
"The Thorn"
N/A
Red Giant Star
Binary Star System
Orange Giant Star
White Dwarf Star
3.14
3.82
4.25
4.45

Lynx is an extremely faint constellation with no stars brighter than magnitude 3. The brightest star in the constellation is Alpha Lyncis with a visual magnitude of only 3.14. It is a red giant star that has exhausted its supply of hydrogen and expanded in size as it burns heavier elements. It is located approximately 203 light years from Earth. 38 Lyncis is the second brightest star with a magnitude of 3.82. It is a binary star system that lies about 122 light years away. Alsciaukat is the third brightest star with a magnitude of only 4.25. It is an orange giant star located over 389 light years from our solar system.

Lynx contains no Messier objects but there are a few notable deep-sky objects worth mentioning. The Intergalactic Wanderer is a globular star cluster containing thousands of individual stars. It received its name because when it was first discovered, it originally thought to not be in orbit around our Milky Way galaxy. This has since been proven false. The UFO Galaxy is a spiral galaxy seen edge-on from out line of sight. It resembles the shape of a classic flying saucer. The Bear’s Paw Galaxy is a compact dwarf galaxy that vaguely resembles the paw print of a bear. These objects are extremely dim and can only be seen with a large telescope.