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Centaurus, The Centaur Constellation

Centaurus (Pronounciation:Cen-tore-us, Abbrev:Cen, Latin:Centauri) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Centaurus takes up 1060.422 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 2.57% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Centaur . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

Centaurus is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Centaurus is a southern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the northern hemisphere.

The brightest star in Centaurus is Rigil Kentaurus. There are 42 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Centaurus. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Centaurus is V766 Centauri. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Centaurus Star List Page.

Centaurus Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Centaurus is 4263. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 174. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 12.

There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.

Stars of Interest

The nearest star to Earth is Alpha Centauri B which is roughly about 4.09 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 113538 which is about 51.75 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 65307 which is located about 326163.3 Light Years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

The dimmest star that can be seen in Centaurus with the naked eye is V928 Centauri. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

Constellation Legend

Centaurs were half horse - half man creatures of Grecian Legend. The most famous is Sagittarius . Hercules encountered Centaurs during his fourth labour as he went to Capture the Erymanthian Boar. The constellation refers to Pholus, a friend of Hercules who provided him with food and help.

Items of Interest

The constellation contains the three closest stars to the Earth. The closest is a red dwarf star that goes by the name Proxima Centauri, a small red dwarf star. Its interest has increased recently because it was found to have a planet orbiting. A little further away are the twin stars Alpha Centauri A and B also known as Rigil Kentaurus. Proxima Centauri is a little too dim to be seen by the naked eye but Alpha A and B are possible.

There are no major meteor showers that radiate from within this constellation.

Centaurus Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Largest StarV766 Centauri
Brightest StarRigil Kentaurus
Area1060.422 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky2.57%
Size Position9th
Hemisphere Southern
Site Exoplanet Count42
Meteor Shower Count5
Nearest StarAlpha Centauri B
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 113538
Dimmest StarV928 Centauri
Furthest StarHIP 65307
Bright Star Count174
Hipparcos Star Count4263
Main Star Count12
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsHydra

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

Centaurus Constellation Map

Centaurus Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Centaurus

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Pearl ClusterCluster5500 LY-61` 3711h 36m 1

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