Mensa (Pronounciation:Men-sar, Abbrev:Men, Latin:Mensae) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Mensa takes up 153.484 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 0.37% of the night sky. Mensa is the 75th largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation name means The Mountain Table . It was not one of the original constellations that had been devised by Ptolemy, instead it was created by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille years later.
There are 4 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 423 stars. There are 16 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
Mensa is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Mensa is a southern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the northern hemisphere.
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.
The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.
You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 33.26 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 793.58 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 399.37 light years.
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.
The nearest star to Earth is HIP 31292 which is roughly about 28.32 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 39194 which is about 84.48 Light Years.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 19732 and it is 20385.21 light years away from the Sun.
The brightest star in Mensa is Alpha Mensae and is located about 319.84 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 5.08 but an absolute magnitude of 5.04 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is recognised as being the brightest in the constellation as it has the Bayer status of Alpha.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Mensa with the naked eye is Xi Mensae. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.84. 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.
There is no Greek Legend behind this constellation. It was created by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille to fill in the voids in the astronomical charts. It is said to mean mountain table or just table. The high intelligence society Mensa use the name because it means table. They chose table because they link it to the round table of the King Arthurian legend. It is a small constellation situated near the southern celestial pole.
There are 1 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.
The Meteor Shower is known as the Delta Mensids.
The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Mensa Star List page.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Alpha Mensae||Alpha Mensae||33.26||06h 10m 14.20||-74d 45` 09.1||G5V||Yellow|
|Beta Mensae||Beta Mensae||793.58||05h 02m 43.00||-71d 18` 51.6||G8III||Yellow|
|Gamma Mensae||Gamma Mensae||102.28||05h 31m 52.66||-76d 20` 30.0||K4III||Orange|
|Eta Mensae||Eta Mensae||668.37||04h 55m 11.14||-74d 56` 13.2||K6III||Orange|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Brightest Star||Alpha Mensae|
|Area||153.484 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||0.37%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||6|
|Meteor Shower Count||1|
|Nearest Star||HIP 31292|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 39194|
|Brightest Star||Alpha Mensae|
|Dimmest Star||Xi Mensae|
|Furthest Star||HIP 19732|
|Bright Star Count||16|
|Hipparcos Star Count||423|
|Main Star Count||4|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||0|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Dorado|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|NGC 1791||Open Star Cluster||-70 10 01.61||04 59 05m 550|
|NGC 2019||Lenticular Galaxy||-70 09 32.5||05 31 56m 48|
|NGC 2121||Globular Star Cluster||-71 28 52.00||05 48 13m 190|
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