Phoenix (Pronounciation:Fee-nicks, Abbrev:Phe, Latin:Phoenicis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Phoenix takes up 469.319 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.14% of the night sky. Phoenix is the 37th largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation name means The Pheonix . It was not one of the original constellations that had been devised by Ptolemy, instead it was created by Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman years later.
There are 8 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 1401 stars. There are 39 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
Phoenix is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Phoenix is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern 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 77.66 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 27,180.28 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 3,562.90 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 Nu Phoenicis which is roughly about 49.3 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 142 which is about 83.87 Light Years.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 10676 and it is 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 Phoenix with the naked eye is HD 3750. 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.
In addition to being the brightest star in the constellation, Ankaa is a multiple star system notable for the fact that its companion star orbits at a very slow speed, 10.5 years. It is one of the very few stars in the southern hemisphere to have a proper name and not just a designation. It has already depleted its hydrogen energy and is now working through its helium stock.
Phoenix is a Southern Hemispheric constellation and is not possible to see in the north area of the hemisphere, e.g. London. Phoenix is just visible in December and January on the horizon in Washington D.C. so anywhere south of that location should see it. Miami wil be able to see the Phoenix just about the horizon at about 9pm but it won't appear for long.
Phoenix can be seen on the horizon about 11pm in July but if you can wait for another month, it can be seen about 9pm in a south easterly direction. In the ensuing months, it will rise higher in the sky. In December, there are the Phoenicids meteor shower and at that point, the constellation will then start to come back down and be lower on the horizon at 9pm. It will start to disappear at 9pm about the 1st April. An hour later, it will have dived behind below the horizon.
The Phoenix was an Egyptian Legend rather than a Greek on which most other constellations are based on. The constellation was created by Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman to fill in the voids in the astronomical charts. The short mythological story is that it was a bird that rose from the ashes. There is no specific story regarding the Phoenix, it was said to be a bird that would be consumed in flames and renew itself. Britannica
The Phoenix has inspired many stories over the years and has been nodded to in Harry Potter and Warcraft to name just two. In Warcraft, the Phoenix appears in a number of dungeons and raids.
There are 7 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.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|July Phoenicids||July 9-17||Jul. 14/15|
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 Phoenix Star List page.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Ankaa||Alpha Phoenicis||84.72||00h 26m 16.87||-42d 18` 18.4||K0III...||Orange|
|Beta Phoenicis||Beta Phoenicis||27180.28||01h 06m 05.11||-46d 43` 06.6||G8IIIvar||Yellow|
|Gamma Phoenicis||Gamma Phoenicis||233.64||01h 28m 21.94||-43d 19` 03.8||K5II-III||Orange|
|Delta Phoenicis||Delta Phoenicis||142.12||01h 31m 14.98||-49d 04` 23.1||K0III-IV||Orange|
|Epsilon Phoenicis||Epsilon Phoenicis||144.19||00h 09m 24.54||-45d 44` 49.2||K0III||Orange|
|Wurren||Zeta Phoenicis||298.68||01h 08m 23.06||-55d 14` 45.0||B6V + B0V||Blue/White|
|Kappa Phoenicis||Kappa Phoenicis||77.66||00h 26m 12.12||-43d 40` 47.7||A7V||White|
|Psi Phoenicis||Psi Phoenicis||341.89||01h 53m 38.82||-46d 18` 08.8||M4III SB||Red|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Area||469.319 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||1.14%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||15|
|Meteor Shower Count||7|
|Nearest Star||Nu Phoenicis|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 142|
|Dimmest Star||HD 3750|
|Furthest Star||HIP 10676|
|Bright Star Count||39|
|Hipparcos Star Count||1401|
|Main Star Count||8|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||0|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Sculptor|
*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 625||Active Galaxy Nucleus||-41 26 10.32||01 35 04m 632|
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