Centaurus

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For other uses, see Centaurus (disambiguation).Template:Infobox Constellation

Centaurus (Latin for centaur) was one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy, and counts also among the 88 modern constellations. This southern constellation is one of the largest in the sky.

Contents

Notable features

Centaurus is a bright constellation of the southern hemisphere.

It contains Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf that is the nearest known star (other than the Sun) to Earth, as well as Alpha Centauri, which is a triple star to which Proxima Centauri is apparently gravitationally bound.

It also contains BPM 37093, which is estimated to be a degenerate star, consisting of crystalline carbon.

Notable deep sky objects

It also contains Omega Centauri, the brightest globular cluster in the sky.

One of the deep-sky objects in Centaurus is the Boomerang nebula, the coldest location (1 kelvin, −272°C) known to science.

History

It was mentioned by Eudoxus (4th century B.C.) and Aratus (3rd century B.C.), Ptolemy catalogued thirty-seven stars in it.

Mythology

The constellation, when including fainter stars visible to the naked eye, resembles a stick man with the back end of a horse attached [1] (http://borghetto.astrofili.org/costellazioni/centaurus.JPG). According to Greek mythology, the constellation is Chiron who was a wise centaur (half-man, half-horse) known as a tutor to Jason (the leader of the Argonauts), and tutor to Herakles (a demi-god).

Centaurus is sometimes associated with the constellation Sagitta, an arrow which Centaurus appears to have fired towards the constellation Aquila. As such, together with the constellation Lupus, and the fact that Centaurus is below the ecliptic, this may have formed the basis of the myth of the Erymanthian Boar, one of The Twelve Labours of Herakles.

When the sun is in the sign of Virgo, it sits directly above the constellation Centaurus. The Greeks considered that the centaur Chiron, who was accidentally poisoned and died due to Herakles, while herakles took a detour from hunting the Erymanthian Boar, was put in the sky as a mark of pity.

The constellation Lupus is next after Centaurus in the sun's transit, and was to the Greeks an arbitrary hunted animal (Therion)- it became a wolf under the Romans. Centaurus appears to have fired an arrow, the constellation Sagitta, towards Aquila, the eagle that tortured Prometheus, thus appearing to release Prometheus from his torment. Centaurus is also under the ecliptic, and thus considered to be in the underworld.

Stars

Stars with proper names:
  • Muhlifain (γ Cen) 2.20
    < محلفين muħlifayn (The star) sworn by [by two?]
  • Alnair [Alnair al Batn al Kentaurus] (ζ Cen) 2.55
    < البطن الناير al-baţn[u] an-nayyir The bright stomach [of Centaurus]
  • Menkent (θ Cen) 2.06
    < منكب mankib [fused with "Kentaurus" to form men-kent?]
  • Ke Kwan (κ Cen) 3.13
    < 騎官 (Mandarin qguān) The cavalry officer
Stars with Bayer designations:
δ Cen 2.58; ε Cen 2.29; η Cen 2.33; ι Cen 2.75; λ Cen 3.11; μ Cen 3.47; ν Cen 3.41; ksi01 Cen 4.83; ksi02 Cen 4.27; ο1 Cen 5.07; ο2 Cen 5.12; π Cen 3.90; ρ Cen 3.97; σ Cen 3.91; τ Cen 3.85; υ1 Cen 3.87; υ2 Cen 4.34; chi Cen 4.36; phi Cen 3.83; psi Cen 4.05; ω Cen – actually a globular cluster; a Cen 4.41; b Cen 4.01; c1 Cen 4.06; c2 Cen 4.92; d Cen 3.90; e Cen 4.33; f Cen 4.71; 2/g Cen 4.19; 4/h Cen 4.75; 1/i Cen 4.23; j Cen 4.30; 3/k Cen – double 4.32, 6.06; l Cen 4.63; m Cen 4.52; n Cen 4.25; p Cen 4.90; r Cen 5.10; u Cen 5.45; v Cen 4.30; w Cen 4.66; x1 Cen 5.32; x2 Cen 5.71; y Cen 5.53; z Cen 5.15; A Cen 4.62; B Cen 4.47; C1 Cen 5.64; C2 Cen 5.26; C3 Cen 5.46; D Cen 5.31; E Cen 5.34; F Cen 5.01; G Cen 4.82; H Cen 5.17; J Cen 4.52; K Cen 5.04; M Cen 4.64; N Cen 5.26; Q Cen 4.99
Stars with Flamsteed designations:
89 Cen 6.51
Other notable stars:

Template:ConstellationsListedByPtolemy Template:ConstellationsChangedByBayer Template:ConstellationsNLDLAltered Template:ConstellationList

External links

Template:Commons

de:Zentaur (Sternbild) es:Centaurus fr:Centaure (constellation) ko:켄타우루스자리 id:Centaurus it:Centaurus nl:Centaurus (sterrenbeeld) ja:ケンタウルス座 pl:Centaur (gwiazdozbir) pt:Centaurus ru:Центавр (созвездие) sk:Shvezdie Kentaur th:กลุ่มดาวคนครึ่งม้า

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