Sculptor, Grus, and Phoenix - Downloadable article
Many of the finest nearby galaxies lie tucked away in the southern constellation Sculptor.
March 3, 2009
|This downloadable article is from an Astronomy magazine 45-article series called "Celestial Portraits." The collection highlights all 88 constellations in the sky and explains how to observe each constellation's deep-sky targets. The articles feature star charts, stunning pictures, and constellation mythology. We've put together 11 digital packages. Each one contains four Celestial Portraits articles for you to purchase and download.|
"Sculptor, Grus, and Phoenix" is one of four articles included in Celestial Portraits Package 5.
During autumn evenings, while the heart of the Milky Way sets in the southwest, the northern reaches command our attention. This often leaves the area away from the galaxy's plane ignored. While the southerly autumn sky is sparse, it is by no means devoid of interesting targets. These include galaxy groups, nearby galaxies, and a couple nearby deep-sky objects you wouldn't expect to find so far from the Milky Way's glowing band.
As viewed from the lower tier of states, Grus the Crane looks like an inverted "y" of mostly 3rd- and 4th-magnitude stars riding along the southern horizon. Its two brightest stars, Alpha (α) and Beta (β) Gruis, are 2nd-magnitude gems, the latter looking distinctly orange. Northwest of Beta Gruis lie Delta1 (δ1) and Delta2 (δ2) Gruis, a pleasing naked-eye pair of 4th-magnitude stars separated by a quarter degree. Phoenix is a nondescript grouping of 4th-magnitude stars spread over a wide swath of sky capped by 2.4-magnitude Alpha Phoenicis, a yellow spectral type K star 77 light-years away. The area around Sculptor is the most star poor in the sky, making it weakly defined. Although Sculptor encompasses 475 square degrees, its brightest star glows at magnitude 4.3. To read the complete article, purchase and download Celestial Portraits Package 5.
|Deep-sky objects in Sculptor, Grus, and Phoenix|
NGC 55, NGC 134, NGC 150, NGC 253, NGC 288, NGC 300, Sculptor Dwarf, NGC 613, IC 5148, NGC 7213, IC 5201, NGC 7418, IC 1459, NGC 7462, NGC 7582, SX Phe