Centaurus Constellation History, Location, How To View

Centaurus Constellation: History, Location, How to View

Belonging from the Hercules family of constellations, Centaurus is the ninth largest constellation. It contains two out of ten brightest stars named Alpha and Beta Centauri. This constellation also has “Centaurus A,” one of the brightest night sky galaxies and the “globular cluster Omega Centauri”.

Moreover, Centaurus is also home to the Blue Planetary nebula (known as Southerner), the Boomerang Nebula, and 11 stars with known planets. However, it does not contain any messier object.

History of Centaurus Constellation

In the old days, Centaurus was an equatorial constellation during the dawn of civilization, but precession slowly shifted it southward for millennia, which made it closer to southern declination.

The evidence of Centaurus’ presence dates back to Babylonians, who called it MUL.GUD.ALIM or Bison-man and associated it with Utu-Shamash, the god of Sun. At the same time, the current name of this constellation was given by the Greeks.

Moreover, this constellation was also mentioned by Eudoxus and Aratus in the 4th and 3rd century BC while the Greek astronomer Ptolemy cataloged it for the first time in 2nd century AD.

What is the English name for Centaurus Constellation?

The English name for the constellation Centaurus is “Centaur“.

What is the Greek Mythological Significance of Centaurus Constellation?

In Roman and Greek mythology, Centaurus was associated with a mythical creature half man and a half horse called the Centaur.

The first-millennium Roman poet named Ovid considered Centaurus a Chiron. Chiron was a very wise centaur who was a mentor to several famous Greek heroes like Jason, Achilles, Theseus, and more. However, other sources associate Chiron with less civilized centaurs and link it to Sagittarius and Centaurus constellations.

Chiron was Titan king Cronus and Philyra’s (one of the sea nymphs) son. Cronus seduced the spirit and turned himself to a horse for escaping being caught, which resulted in the birth of a hybrid son by Philyra.

Chiron was a genius. He was an expert hunting, music, and medicine teacher. He died of Heracles’ poisoned arrow, which accidentally struck him. Being an immortal son of an immortal father, his death was not easy. He suffered terrible pain. Eventually, god Zeus released him from immortality and, after his death, placed him among the stars.

How to Find Centaurus Constellation?

To find Centaurus, follow the steps discussed ahead:

  • Locate the southern cross.
  • Draw an imaginary line to “two pointers”. Two pointers are two stars, one Alpha Centauri the other Beta.
  • When you locate two pointers, you are in the Centaurus constellation.

What is the Area of Centaurus Constellation?

The Centaurus has an area of 1060.422 square degrees in the night sky.

What Quadrant is Centaurus Constellation in?

This constellation is in SQ3, 3rd quadrant of the southern hemisphere.

What Latitude is Centaurus Constellation Visible in?

It is visible at the latitude of +25° and -90°. Its neighbors are:

What Type of Telescope is Best for Viewing Centaurus Constellation?

Since Centaurus is a large constellation, it can be seen with the naked eye. But to have a more detailed and more precise view, it is best to use a simple telescope or binoculars.


Recommended Reading: