Constellations > Giraffe

Giraffe is a constellation located in the northern hemisphere. It got its name from the originally Greek word, but the Latin variation is “Camelopardalis”.

Although the constellation is called Giraffe, but if you break the original word, then the first part is a camel (long neck), and the second is a leopard (spots).

It was found and created by the astronomer from Holland Peter Planzius, and registered in 1624 by his German colleague Jacob Bartsch. It contains the Kembla Cascade (an asterism created by a cascade of faint stars), as well as several notable objects: the open cluster NGC 1502, the spiral galaxy NGC 2403 and the dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 1569.

Constellation giraffe

An object Designation Meaning of the name Object type Magnitude
one Beta Giraffe No Yellow supergiant 4.02
2 CS Giraffe No Binary star system 4.21
3 Alpha Giraffe No Blue supergiant 4.29
4 Gamma giraffe No White subgiant 4.59

Facts, position and map

In size, the Giraffe constellation occupies the 18th position in the sky with an area of ​​757 square degrees. Located in the second quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ2). Can be found at latitudes between + 90 ° and -10 °. Neighbors with the Big Dipper, Ursa Minor, Perseus, Lynx, Dragon, Cepheus, Cassiopeia and Charioteer.

Lat. title Camelopardalis
Reduction Cam
Symbol Giraffe
Right ascension from 3h 06m up to 14h thirtym
Declination from + 52 ° 30 ‘to + 86 ° 30’
Square 757 sq. degrees
(18th place)
The brightest stars
(value <3m)
    No; the brightest

  • β Cam – 4.03m
Meteor showers
  • No
Nearby constellations
  • Ursa Minor
  • The Dragon
  • Big Dipper
  • Lynx
  • Auriga
  • Perseus
  • Cassiopeia
  • Cepheus
The constellation is visible in latitudes from + 90 ° to -3 °.
The best time to watch is February.

The constellation is home to three stars with planets and no Messier objects. The brightest star is Beta Giraffe. There is also one meteor shower – the October Camelopardalids. Belongs to the Ursa Major family, which also includes the Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Lynx, Little Lion, Dragon, Northern Crown, Veronica’s Hair, Hounds Dogs and Bootes. Consider the diagram of the constellation Giraffe on the star map.

Constellation giraffe


It is a faint constellation, in which there are no stars brighter than magnitude 4. It is not surprising that the Greeks did not notice stars in it at all and thought it was an empty area. There are no myths either, because it was created only in the 17th century. Although the giraffe does not refer to mythology, the reference can be found in the Bible (this point is still in doubt). When Jacob Bartsch entered the constellation on the 1624 star map, he described the camel on which Rebecca arrived in Canaan, where her future husband Isaac was waiting for her. But since the constellation represents a giraffe, the explanation does not seem appropriate.

Main stars

Explore the stars of the constellation Giraffe in the northern sky with detailed descriptions and characteristics.

Beta Giraffe is the brightest binary star in the constellation with a yellow G-type supergiant. It is 1,000 light years distant and has an apparent visual magnitude of 4.03.

CS Giraffe is the second brightest binary star. It is represented by a blue-white B-type supergiant and a magnitude of 8.7. Located 2.9 arc seconds away. Located in the reflected nebula vdB 14.

CS Giraffe A is an Alpha Cygnus variable star exhibiting non-radial pulsations (some parts of the surface are expanding and others are contracting). Magnitude: 4.19-4.23. It is approximately 3,000 light years distant.

Σ 1694 Giraffe (Sigma 1694 Giraffe, Struve 1694) is a double star. It consists of a white A-type subgiant with a magnitude of 5.3 and a distance of 300 light years, as well as a spectroscopic binary system, represented by two A-type main sequence stars. Located in the head of the Giraffe.

NGC 1569

NGC 1569

VZ Giraffe is an M-type red giant about 470 light years distant. It is a semi-regular variable star with an apparent visual magnitude of 4.92. The luminosity ranges from 4.80 to 4.96 with a period of 23.7 days.


The Kembla Cascade is an asterism formed by more than 20 stars with magnitudes 5-10. In the sky, they create a straight line spanning 5 lunar diameters. Ends in open star cluster NGC 1502.

It got its name from the Franciscan monk Lucian J. Kembla. Upon discovery, he wrote a letter to Walter Scott Houston (columnist for Sky and Telescope magazine), describing the view as “a beautiful cascade of faint stars falling from the northwest down into the open cluster NGC 1502.” Houston named the asterism after a monk in a 1980 column.

Celestial objects

NGC 2403 (Caldwell 7) is an intermediate spiral galaxy 8 million light years away. The apparent magnitude is 8.9. In the 18th century, it was discovered by the British astronomer Frederick William Herschel.

NGC 2403

NGC 2403

NGC 2403’s northern spiral arm joins NGC 2404, a nebulous region in the outer galaxy also located in the constellation Giraffe. It acts as a peripheral element of the M81 group (in the Big Dipper). It is part of the Local Supercluster of galaxies.

NGC 2403 was the first galaxy to be found outside our local group containing the known Cepheid variables. In the last century, two supernovae were noticed in it: SN 1954J and SN 2004dj.

NGC 1502 is an open cluster located at the end of the Kembla Cascade asterism. It contains 45 stars, with the bright double star Struve 485 in the center.

NGC 2366 is an irregular galaxy with an apparent magnitude of 11.4. Contains a star forming region – NGC 2363.

NGC 2366

NGC 2366

NGC 1569 is a dwarf irregular galaxy with an apparent magnitude of 11.9 and a distance of 11 million light years. Notable for two super-stellar clusters.

Star formations are active in both clusters. True, the cluster located in the northwest region mainly contains young stars formed less than 5 million years ago, as well as some older red ones, while the second, located near the galactic center, contains old stars, red giants and supergiants.

IC 342 (Caldwell 5) is an intermediate spiral galaxy with an apparent magnitude of 9.1 and a distance of 10.7 million light years.

IC 342

IC 342

It was discovered in 1895 by the British astronomer William Frederick Denning. IC 342 is outside the Local Group of Galaxies.

It is one of the two brightest galaxies in the IC 342 / Maffei group – the closest group of galaxies to the Local Group (centered around IC 342 or Maffei 1 – an elliptical galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia).

IC 342 is close to the galactic equator and is obscured by massive amounts of interstellar dust. Because of this, it is difficult to watch her.

You can study the constellation Giraffe in the northern hemisphere more closely if you use not only our photos, but 3D models and an online telescope. For an independent search, a static or moving map of the starry sky is suitable.

Constellations of the winter sky

December Aries Whale Eridanus Oven Clock Southern Hydra Perseus Triangle
January Chisel Dora Fish Table Mountain Orion Mesh Taurus
February Charioteer Giraffe Big Dog Dove Gemini Hare Unicorn Painter


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