In today’s article, we’re discussing Centaurus Constellation facts to help you identify, locate, and understand it.
Centaurus Constellation Facts, Myth, Location and Stars
What is the Centaurus Constellation?
The Centaurus constellation is located in the southern sky. Its name means “the centaur” in Latin.
The constellation is home to some of the brightest stars in the sky, including Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our solar system.
It was discovered by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD.
Other astronomers have since added stars to the constellation.
The constellation looks like a man with the body of a horse. It is often represented as holding a club or spear in one hand and a globe in the other.
It belongs to the family of Hercules constellations, which includes some of the most well-known constellations in the sky such as Crux, Sagitta, and Lyra.
Where is the Centaurus Constellation?
You can find the Centaurus constellation in the southern sky. It is visible in both hemispheres from April to June. It is located specifically at coordinates 13h 24m 36s (right ascension), and −60° 50′ 0″ (declination). You can also look between latitudes +25° and −90°.
You can also find it by looking for the Southern Cross, which is a well-known asterism located in the constellation Crux.
The two pointer stars of the Southern Cross point directly to the Centaurus constellation.
The best time to see the constellation is in the evening in mid-April.
How Many Stars Does the Centaurus Constellation Have?
The Centaurus constellation many stars, but only about 11 main stars. These stars are some of the brightest in the sky. The stars are:
Alpha Centauri: The brightest star in the constellation, and also the closest star system to our solar system.
Beta Centauri: Also known as Hadar, this is the second brightest star in Centaurus. It is a red giant located about 600 light years from Earth.
Gamma Centauri: A binary star system consisting of two orange giants. It is located about 16 light years from Earth.
Delta Centauri: A binary star system consisting of two orange dwarf stars. It is located about 36 light years from Earth.
Epsilon Centauri: A yellow-white dwarf star located about 13 light years from Earth.
Zeta Centauri: A binary star system consisting of two white dwarf stars. It is located about 27 light years from Earth.
Eta Centauri: A yellow-white giant star located about 310 light years from Earth.
Theta Centauri: A triple star system consisting of two orange dwarf stars and one white dwarf star. It is located about 13 light years from Earth.
Iota Centauri: A binary star system consisting of two white dwarf stars. It is located about 36 light years from Earth.
Kappa Centauri: A binary star system consisting of two orange giant stars. It is located about 310 light years from Earth.
Lambda Centauri: A binary star system consisting of two red dwarf stars. It is located about 16 light years from Earth.
What is the Mythology Associated with the Centaurus Constellation?
The constellation is named after the centaur, a creature from Greek mythology that is half man and half horse. The centaur was known for its strength and wisdom.
In one story, the centaur Chiron was teaching the young Achilles how to fight.
During a training session, Achilles accidentally shot Chiron with an arrow that was dipped in the poison of the Hydra.
Chiron was in so much pain that he asked to be relieved of it by being turned into a constellation.
How Big is the Centaurus Constellation?
The Centaurus constellation is one of the largest constellations in the sky. It covers an area of 1138 square degrees, which is about 2.5 times the size of the full moon.
What are the Deep Sky Objects in the Centaurus Constellation?
There are many deep sky objects in the Centaurus constellation, including galaxies, globular clusters, and nebulae. Some of these objects are:
The Centaurus A Galaxy: A spiral galaxy located about 13 million light years from Earth. It is one of the closest radio galaxies to our own galaxy.
The Centaurus Cluster: A cluster of galaxies located about 250 million light years from Earth. It is one of the closest galaxy clusters to our own.
The Jewel Box Cluster: An open cluster located about 6000 light years from Earth. It is one of the brightest and most beautiful clusters in the sky.
The Coalsack Nebula: A large and bright nebula located about 600 light years from Earth. It is one of the most prominent nebulae in the sky.
The Southern Cross: The best known asterism in the constellation. It is composed of four stars: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta Centauri.
Can the Centaurus Constellation Be Viewed Without a Telescope?.
Yes, the constellation can be seen with the naked eye.
Centaurus Constellation’s Meteor Showers
The Centaurus constellation is home to two meteor showers: the Alpha Centauri shower and the Beta Centauri shower.
The Alpha Centauri shower occurs from May 21 to June 9, while the Beta Centauri shower occurs from December 9 to 16.
Have you had any luck locating the Centaurus Constellation? Let us know in the comments section below.