The Discoveries of the Coma Berenices

The Discoveries of the Coma Berenices

The Coma Berenices is a small constellation located in the northern sky. It is named after the hair of the Egyptian Queen Berenice II, which she famously cut off as a sacrifice to the gods. Despite its size, the Coma Berenices has played a significant role in astronomical discoveries throughout history.

The Discoveries of the Coma Berenices

Galaxies and Clusters

In 1779, the French astronomer Charles Messier catalogued an object in the Coma Berenices that he initially thought was a comet. He soon realized that it was a large cluster of galaxies, now known as the Coma Cluster. Today, the Coma Cluster is one of the largest known galaxy clusters, containing about 1,000 galaxies. In addition to the Coma Cluster, many other galaxy clusters have been discovered in the Coma Berenices, including Abell 1656 and Abell 2065.

Gamma-Ray Bursts

Gamma-ray bursts are brief but extremely powerful emissions of gamma rays that are thought to originate in distant galaxies. In 1997, the Gamma Ray Observatory detected a gamma-ray burst that appeared to be coming from the Coma Berenices. Follow-up observations confirmed that the burst was indeed within the constellation, making it the first gamma-ray burst localized to a specific location on the sky.


Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars outside of our solar system. In 2012, astronomers using the Kepler space telescope discovered a planet in the Coma Berenices that is about the same size as Earth and orbits its star in the habitable zone, where liquid water can exist. The planet, named Kepler-69c, is one of the most Earth-like exoplanets discovered to date.

The Coma Berenices has been the site of many important astronomical discoveries throughout history. From galaxy clusters to gamma-ray bursts to exoplanets, its relatively small size has not prevented it from being a major player in the study of the universe.