How to identify Centaurus and Crux


            This is the constellation called Centaurus. It's a constellation present in the southern hemisphere but it is visible from the northern hemisphere during summer. The alpha star of Centaurus is Rigil kentaurus which is a star system consisting of Proxima centauri A, B and C. Proxima centauri C is also the closest star to our solar system. The problem with this constellation is that it is a little difficult to recognize. So the best way of recognizing it would be to first find the constellation Crux also known as the southern cross.Crux consists of four bright stars they are Gacrux, Mimosa, Acrux and Delta Crucius. On the left hand side of the star Mimosa you would notice two really bright stars these are Rigil kent. and Hadar which form the two front hooves of the centaur. Once you find these two stars you should be able to trace the rest of the constellation using a stellar chart. The other way of locating this constellation would be to first locate Lupus. This constellation is located below Scorpius and Libra and Lupus is the wolf that the Centaur is trying to kill. So Centaurus is located on the right side of Lupus.
            Centaurus has quite a few deep sky objects in it. NGC 5128 is one of the closest active galaxies to the Milky Way. It has an apparent magnitude of 7. It is said that it was created after an elliptical galaxy collided with a spiral galaxy. The dust cloud seen in the picture is because of the spiral galaxy.
It has a 8th magnitude planetary nebula also known as the blue planetary nebula.
It also consists of one of the largest and the brightest star cluster in the sky known as the omega cluster or NGC 5139. It covers an area larger than the full moon and appears as a 4th magnitude star. It is at a distance of around 17000 light years.
These are just a few prominent objects in the constellation. It has got many more relatively fainter nebulas, galaxied and star clusters.
(This is just a map giving the exact location of the deep sky objects)





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