Constellation Camelopardalis (Giraffe)

Camelopardalis: IAU Constellation Map [150]


Between the constellation Auriga and the Pole Star there is a gap of yawning emptiness in the firmament. Only a few stars achieve a brightness that would captivate our eyes and lead to an association. Just two stars are easily visible to the naked eye. The area of the constellation is 757 square degrees and the center culminates around midnight on December 23rd. [9, 15]

Data for constellation Camelopardalis [150]
IAU NameCamelopardalis
IAU GenitiveCamelopardalis
IAU Abbr.Cam
English NameGiraffe
Opposition21 December
Season (47° N)September … March
Right Ascension03h 15m 36s … 14h 27m 08s
Declination+52° 39' 56" … +86° 05' 51"
Area757 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)UMi, Cep, Cas, Per, Aur, Lyn, UMa, Dra

Deep-Sky Object Descriptions


Constellation Camelopardalus
Constellation Camelopardalus: Illustration from «Prodromus Astronomiae» by Johannes Hevelius, 1690. Mirrored view from «outside of the celestial sphere» [19]


The giraffe was only introduced to constellation studies at the beginning of the 17th century and therefore has no mythological background. The constellation is mostly attributed to the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius, but the mathematician Jakob Bartsch, a son-in-law of Johannes Kepler, mentioned it in a book as early as 1624. In his work Usus astronomicus planisphaerium Argentinae, this mathematician, bare of any poetic imagination, baptized this amorphous spot in the sky with the name "Giraffe". The giraffe was known in ancient Greece as the "leopard camel". Jakob Bartsch preferred to call the constellation a camel, namely the camel that Rebekah brought from Haran to Canaan to marry Isaac. (Genesis 24:61). Other constellations named by Bartsch are Columba and Monoceros. Since astronomers are reluctant to change the names of the constellations that have become naturalized, Camelopardalis (also Camelopardus) has been preserved to this day. [7, 21, 133]


  • [7] «Der grosse Kosmos-Himmelsführer» von Ian Ridpath und Wil Tirion; Kosmos Verlag; ISBN 3-440-05787-9
  • [9] «Drehbare Sternkarte SIRIUS» von H. Suter-Haug; Hallwag-Verlag, Bern
  • [15] «Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes» by David Malin and David J. Frew; Melbourne University Press 1995; ISBN 0-522-84553-3
  • [19] «Prodromus Astronomiae» Johannes Hevelius, 1690; DOI:10.3931/e-rara-456
  • [21] «Taschenatlas der Sternbilder» von Josef Klepesta und Antonin Rükl; Verlag Werner Dausien; ISBN 3-7684-2384-0
  • [133] NGC 4559; (2023-11-19)
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020;