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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
Star Names
Their Lore and Meaning

Richard Hinckley Allen

as reprinted
in the Dover edition, 1963

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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 p473  Vulpecula cum Ansere, the Little Fox with the Goose,

is known in Italy as Volpe colla Oca; in Germany as Fuchs, or Füchschen, mit der Gans; and in France as Petit Renard avec l'Oie.

Smyth wrote that this is

a modern constellation, crowded in by Hevelius to occupy a space between the Arrow and the Swan, where the Via Lactea divides into two branches. For this purpose he ransacked the informes of this bifurcation, and was so satisfied with the result, that the effigies figure in the elaborate print of his offerings to Urania. He selected it on account of the Eagle, Cerberus and Vultur Cadens. "I wished," said he, "to place a fox and a goose in the space of the sky well fitted to it; because such an animal is very cunning, voracious and fierce. Aquila and Vultur are of the same nature, rapacious and greedy."

The two members are sometimes given separately; indeed the Anser is often omitted. Flamsteed's Atlas shows both, but separates the titles; and Proctor arbitrarily combined both in his Vulpes. Astronomers now call the whole Vulpecula.

Its inventor saw 27 stars here, but Argelander catalogued 37, and Heis 62. They come to the meridian toward the end of August.

Although I have elsewhere found no named star in Vulpecula, and its  p474 general faintness would render it doubtful whether there ever has been one, yet the Standard Dictionary says of it under the word Anser:

a small star in the constellation of the Fox and the Goose;

and the Century Dictionary has much the same. This may have been α, the lucida, a 4.4‑magnitude just west of the Fox's head.

A meteor stream, the Vulpeculids, appearing from the 13th of June to the 7th of July, radiates from a point in this constellation; but the latter's most noteworthy object is the Double-headed Shot, or Dumb-bell, Nebula, NGC 6853, 27 M., just visible in a 1¼‑inch finder, 7° southeast from the star Albireo.

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Page updated: 4 Mar 14