Pictor, Dorado, and Mensa - Downloadable article
This trio of southern constellations hosts the closest bright galaxy to the Milky Way.
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.|
"Pictor, Dorado, and Mensa" is one of four articles included in Celestial Portraits Package 5.
Once you move beyond Crux and the bright stars of Centaurus, the southern sky has a striking lack of conspicuous star patterns. Nowhere is this more evident than in a trio of constellations on display from the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere during the early months of the year. Pictor, Dorado, and Mensa contain no star as bright as magnitude 3.0 and just four stars brighter than magnitude 4.0. Yet this apparently barren area holds a wealth of impressive deep-sky objects for backyard observers.
The easiest way to find this region is to start with Canopus, the brightest star in neighboring Carina and, at magnitude -0.7, the second brightest star in the whole sky. Pictor the Painter begins just a few degrees west of Canopus. Third-magnitude Alpha (α) Pictoris lies at the southern end of a string of three moderately bright stars with the northern end marked by Beta (β) Pictoris. To read the complete article, purchase and download Celestial Portraits Package 5.
|Deep-sky objects in Pictor, Dorado, and Mensa|
NGC 1549, NGC 1553, NGC 1566, NGC 1651, NGC 1672, NGC 1714, NGC 1755, NGC 1763, NGC 1835, NGC 1846, NGC 1850, Kapteyn's Star, NGC 1866, Henize 119, Large Magellanic Cloud, NGC 1962, NGC 1968/74, NGC 1978, NGC 2004, NGC 2019, NGC 2070 (Tarantula Nebula), NGC 2074, NGC 2100, NGC 2154, NGC 2214