The Constellation Directory

Coma Berenices

"Berenice's Hair"

Coma Berenices

By IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Abbreviation: Com
Genitive: Comae Berenices
Constellation family: Ursa Major
Nearest constellations: Boötes, Canes Venatici, Leo, Ursa Major, and Virgo
Right ascension: 12.76h
Declination: 21.83°
Visible between latitudes: +90° and -60°
Square degrees: 386
Luminary: Beta Comae Berenices
Named stars: Diadem
Notable deep sky objects: M53, M54 (Black Eye Galaxy), M85, M88, M91, M98, M99, M100, NGC 4565 (Needle Galaxy), NGC 5053, Coma Star Cluster (Melotte 111)


Coma Berenices by John Flamsteed

By John Flamsteed [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Coma Berenices is a faint constellation in the Northern Hemisphere that is best viewed in May. While there are no stars above fourth magnitude present, Coma Berenices does include a large number of interesting deep sky objects.


The name Coma Berenices refers to the hair of Queen Berenice II, who was the wife of Ptolemy III of Egypt. She sacrificed her hair to the goddess Aphrodite after her husband safely returned from a mission overseas; Aphrodite was pleased with the offering and placed the hair in the sky.