Hevelius’s depiction of Lacerta


Lacerta, also given the alternative title Stellio, depicted in the Firmamentum Sobiescianum star atlas of Johannes Hevelius, published posthumously in 1690.

Above Lacerta on this chart is a triangle of stars, which mark the end of an ornamental plume extending from the imperial turban of Cepheus; these were later incorporated into Lacerta by the English astronomer John Flamsteed in his Catalogus Britannicus of 1725, thereby enlarging and extending the lizard’s head and forequarters (although this extension was not shown on the charts in Flamsteed’s accompanying Atlas Coelestis, which depicted the lizard much as Hevelius had done).

The constellation’s two brightest stars, later labelled Alpha and Beta Lacertae by Francis Baily, were members of this trio added by Flamsteed.