The Southern Fly

Musca Constellation

Origin of the Constellation

Musca is another one of the constellations invented by by Abbe Nicholas Louis de Lacaille who mapped the stars of the southern hemisphere from the Cape of Good Hope in the years from 1751 to 1753. It is the Abbe de La Caille who is responsible for many of the modern constellations of the southern skies. However, de La Caille was not the first to associate this area of the sky with an insect. During the early part of the Age of Exploration, European sailors pictured the stars of Musca in the shape of a bee.

De La Caille identified the constellation as Musca Australis, that is, the Southern Fly. There is in fact an obsolete northern constellation known as Musca Borealis, the Northern Fly. Since the Northern Fly is no longer recognized, the Southern Fly is now named simply Musca without the adjective "Australis", although the constellation continues to be referred to as the Southern Fly in English.  


Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Arnold V. Lesikar,
Professor Emeritus
Dept. of Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Science,
St. Cloud State University,St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

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