Chamaeleon

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Chamaeleon is a small constellation in the southern sky. It is named after the chameleon, a form of lizard. It was first defined in the sixteenth century. In Australia it is sometimes unofficially called "the Frying Pan" when finding south by the stars.[citation needed]

Contents

History

Chamaeleon was one of twelve constellations created by Petrus Plancius from the observations of Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. It first appeared on a 35-cm diameter celestial globe published in 1597 (or 1598) in Amsterdam by Plancius and Jodocus Hondius. The first depiction of this constellation in a celestial atlas was in Johann Bayer's Uranometria of 1603.

This constellation were classified in The Southern Asterisms (近南極星區, Jìnnánjíxīngōu) as Little Dipper (小斗, Xiǎodǒu) by Xu Guangqi. [1]

Notable features

In 1999, a nearby open cluster was discovered centered on the star η Chamaeleontis. The cluster, known as either the Eta Chamaeleontis cluster or Mamajek 1, is 8 million years old, and lies 316 light years from Earth.[2]

The constellation contains a number of molecular clouds (the Chamaeleon dark clouds) that are forming low-mass T Tauri stars. The cloud complex lies some 400 to 600 light years from Earth, and contains tens of thousands of solar masses of gas and dust. The most prominent cluster of T Tauri stars and young B-type stars are in the Chamaeleon I cloud, and are associated with the reflection nebula IC 2631.

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