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The Fly

Constellation of the southern sky

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Constellation FamilyBayer
Celestial QuadrantSQ2, SQ3
Right Ascension11h19 to 13h51
Declination-64.6° to -75.7°
Area (sq deg)138
Brightest StarMyla
Optimum VisibilityNovember / December (Usually visible from southern latitudes)
NotesA small southern constellation in the heart of the Milky Way, southward of Crux and the Coalsack. Beyond the group of stars that make up the (very approximate) shape of the Fly itself lies a field of dark nebulae, including the curious linear structure known as the Dark Doodad Nebula.
Map of Musca Map of Musca


The origins of Musca are difficult to discern. Like its neighbour Crux, this region of the sky was originally included within the bounds of the large constellation Centaurus. It acquired a separate identity as Musca the Fly in the late sixteenth century, though for many years that name alternated with Apis the Bee.

Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas


Musca lies almost centrally on the band of the Milky Way, and so presents a rich starfield when viewed through binoculars or a telescope. To the unaided eye, though, its stars are rather dim. The brightest, the blue Alpha Muscae, is only of magnitude +2.7, while the Beta star, which is also blue and lies within a few light years of Alpha, is slightly fainter at magnitude +3.0.


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