In today’s article, we’re discussing Carina Constellation facts to help you identify, locate, and understand it.
Carina Constellation Facts, Myth, Location and Stars
What is the Carina Constellation?
The Carina Constellation (pronounced ˈkærᵻnə) is a constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for keel, and it was originally part of the Argo Navis.
Carina contains Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky.
It was first discovered by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD. (Ptolemy was a Greek astronomer and mathematician who lived in Egypt.)
Interesting Carina Constellation Facts:
-Carina is the third largest constellation in the sky.
-It is home to two of the brightest stars in the entire night sky, Canopus and Miaplacidus.
-Carina contains the variable star Eta Carinae, which is one of the most luminous stars known.
-It also contains the remnants of the Supernova of 1604, also known as Kepler’s Supernova.
-The Carina Nebula is one of the largest star-forming regions in our galaxy.
-The Carina Constellation is visible in the southern hemisphere from February to July.
French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille created the modern constellation boundaries in the 18th century, breaking the original discovery/description apart into three separate constellations we now know as Carina, Puppis, and Vela.
Three constellations border Carina: Vela, Puppis and Centaurus.
It is a member of the Heavenly Waters family, which includes other constellations such as Delphinus, Eridanus, Pyxis, and Columba.
Where is the Carina Constellation?
The Carina Constellation is located in the southern sky.
It can be seen best from latitudes between +20° and -90°.
It is best seen in February.
How Big is the Carina Constellation?
The Carina Constellation takes up an area of 494 square degrees.
This makes it the 31st largest constellation in the sky.
Carina Constellation Stars
There are 11 stars with known planets in the Carina Constellation, and a handful of named stars.
The brightest star is Canopus, Alpha Carinae, with an apparent magnitude of -0.72 (aka Canopis). Canopus is famous as one of the brightest and well-known stars in the night sky.
The second brightest star is Miaplacidus, Beta Carinae, with an apparent magnitude of 1.68.
There are two star systems with known planets in Carina: HD 97658 and HD 106906.
Carina Constellation Mythology
The constellation of Carina was once part of the much larger constellation Argo Navis.
The myth associated with Argo Navis is the story of Jason and the Argonauts.
The story goes that Jason was asked by the king of Iolcus to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
He built a ship called the Argo, and set sail with a crew of 50 heroes.
The Argo was successful in its quest and returned to Iolcus with the Golden Fleece.
When Ptolemy divided Argo Navis into three separate constellations, he named one of them Carina after the keel of the ship.
Can the Carina Constellation Be Viewed Without a Telescope?.
Yes, the Carina Constellation can be viewed without a telescope.
Carina Constellation’s Meteor Showers
The Carina Constellation is home to two meteor showers: the eta Carinids and theta Carinids.
The eta Carinids are active from January 21st to February 20th, with peak activity on February 4th.
The theta Carinids are active from February 8th to March 5th, with peak activity on February 25th.
Both meteor showers are best seen in the Southern Hemisphere.
Carina Constellation Deep Sky Objects
There are a number of Deep Sky Objects in the Carina Constellation.
Some of the more notable ones include:
The Carina Nebula, also known as the Great Nebula in Carina, is a large emission nebula. (A large emission nebula is a cloud of ionized gas where stars are born.)
The Eta Carinae Nebula is a bipolar planetary nebula. (A bipolar planetary nebula is a type of planetary nebula that has a distinctive shape, with two lobes that are symmetrical about a central star.)
The open star cluster NGC 3114 is also located in Carina. It is a young cluster, with an age of around 10 million years.
The open star cluster IC 2602 is another young cluster in Carina. It is also known as the Southern Pleiades.
The variable star eta Carinae is one of the most luminous stars in the sky. It is also one of the most massive stars known.
Have you had any luck locating the Carina Constellation? Let us know in the comments section below.