Centaurus and Antlia - Downloadable article
Dip into the southern sky to sample some of these constellations' starry treats.
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.|
"Centaurus and Antlia" is one of four articles included in Celestial Portraits Package 9.
The southernmost reaches of the Milky Way precede the arrival of the galaxy's center by several hours. The plane of our galaxy slices through the southern edge of Centaurus the Centaur, making one of the largest constellations also one of the starriest. Within its borders Centaurus holds more than 20 stars brighter than 4th magnitude. And along the galactic equator are the unmistakable stars Alpha (α) and Beta (β) Centauri, which form pointers to the adjacent constellation Crux.
Alpha Centauri is arguably the most spectacular double star in the sky. It certainly has the two brightest components. With magnitudes of 0 and 1.3, the two components are currently separated by 12". In the next 15 years, orbital motion will diminish this separation to 4". The system's proper motion toward the west will carry it to within half a degree of Beta Centauri in 4,000 years, forming a spectacular close pair of bright stars. Beta Centauri is also a tight double star, with a 4th-magnitude component less than 1" to the west. To read the complete article, purchase and download Celestial Portraits Package 9.
|Deep-sky objects in Centaurus and Antlia|
NGC 2997, NGC 3175, U Antliae, NGC 3699, NGC 3766, IC 2944, NGC 3918, Abell 3526, NGC 4945, NGC 5102, NGC 5128, NGC 5139, NGC 5253, NGC 5286, NGC 5281, NGC 5316, NGC 5367, Proxima Centauri