Coma Berenicesrepresents the hair of Queen Berenice of Egypt. According to legend, she cut off her locks to thank the gods for the safe return of her husband, King Ptolemy, from battle. It was formed in the 16th century by Gersrdus Mercator, the Dutch cartographer, from a group of faint stars that the Greeks regarded as the tail of Leo. The galaxies in its southern region belong to the Virgo Cluster.
Depiction: Berenice's Hair
Genitive: Comae Berenices
Highest in the Sky: April to May
Size Ranking: 42nd
Coverage Area: 386 Sq. Degrees
Right Acension: 13 hours
Visibility: 90°N to 57°S
24 Comae Berenices: Double star
Melotte 111: The Coma Star Cluster
M53: Globular cluster
M64: Blackeye Galaxy
M99: Unbarred spiral galaxy
M100: Spiral galaxy
NGC 4565: Spiral galaxy
NGC 5053: Globular cluster
Diadem, Alpha Comae Berenices
Best Viewed Objects/Stars
Alpha M64 (The Black Eye Galaxy)
A spiral galaxy, visible through a small telescope as an elliptical haze. Larger apertures show a dark cloud of dust silhouetted against the galaxy's center, which gives rise to its popular name.
The Coma Star Cluster (Melotte 111)
An open cluster, consisting of a scattered group of stars stretching southward in a fan shape from Gamma Comae Berenices, magnitude 4.4, which is not a true member but a foreground star. The cluster lies 260 light-years away.