Microscopium

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Microscopium is a constellation.

Animated view

One of the southern constellations representing scientific instruments that were invented in 1751–52 by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. In this case the instrument concerned is an early form of compound microscope, i.e. one that uses more than one lens. This small , faint constellation lies to the south of Capricornus and east of Sagittarius. It was created by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille in about 1750. It commemorates the microscope, invented by the Dutch spectacle maker Zacharias Janssen around 1590.

Nicholas Louis de La Caille (1713-1762), who had the great honor of naming 15 of the 88 constellations by becoming the first astronomer to systematically observe the entire night sky, in his posthumously published 1763 catalogue of 9,766 stars that was compiled from 1750 to 1754 by studying the stars of the southern hemisphere at the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost point of Africa, with just an half-inch (8x) refractor.


Microscopium is one of Nicolas de Lacaille's creations, celebrating the scientific instrument


Since Microscopium was introduced in the 17th century, and lies near the southern pole, it was not known to classical or early cultures, and so they produced no mythology concerning it.